Although a highly anticipated follow up feature for talented director Duncan Jones, with Mute the low-brow/big-budget Netflix Original powerhouse has claimed another victim. The filmmaker exhibited his gift behind the lens with popular indie sci-fi flick Moon, an Easter egg that he embeds in his latest movie. Unfortunately, Sam Rockwell’s cameo curveball is the peak of Jones’s confusing, colourless narrative masked by heavily contrasting neon visuals that imitate, rather than rival, the neo-noir classic Blade Runner.
Lamblike Leo, unconvincingly played by Alexander Skarsgård, is rendered mute after an unfortunate accident with a motorboat propeller, an incident that brands him a freakish outcast in the Berlin underworld. After his cerulean cupid Naadirah (Seyneb Saleh) goes missing, Leo embarks on a mission to find her, coming face-to-face with the evil that lurks in her shadow.
Paul Rudd as the stranded egocentric army surgeon “Cactus Bill” is perfectly cast yet it is a shame his character serves only to depict the depth of violence ridden in the futuristic society. Equally, his tumultuous relationship with fellow crony Duck (Justin Theroux) is wasted, void of any tone or direction other than revealing a sadistic plot “twist” that is dropped just as quickly as it’s picked up.
Mute is a poorly manufactured jigsaw of a film, which aesthetics, large budgets and star quality cannot save. Jones’s meek attempt at a revenge drama uses a concept that Hollywood has shown time and time again, from Denzel Washington’s takedown of the Mexican drug cartel in Man on Fire to the more recent John Wick chronicles. Although employing a successful genre trope, Jones’s threadbare plot delivers nothing we haven’t already seen before. At best, Mute is watchable but, much like Leo, it doesn’t have much to say.
Mute is released on Netflix on 23rd February 2018.
Watch the trailer for Mute here: