New Sci-Fi Releases: Mute (2018) - Reviewed

From the director of critically acclaimed movies such as Moon and Source Code comes Mute, a muddled mess of a sci-fi so awful that without its worthy production values this movie might as well be riffed by Tom Servo and the gang. The film follows a specific rhetoric when it comes to its story structure; establish the main character’s back story, world building, conflict, introduce more characters, convolute the story, confuse it's audience, become unbearably boring, and finally it just becomes so bad that it's kind of worth seeing.

Alexander Skarsgård stars as Leo, an Amish man who lost his ability to speak as a child in a tragic boating accident. Leo works as a bartender at a night club that features robot strippers along with his girlfriend who also has a name. When Leo’s girlfriend goes missing after he gets fired for smashing a bottle over a customer’s head, he sets aside his hobby of carving dolphins out of wood and journeys across futuristic Berlin to find his one true love. Paul Rudd and Justin Theroux's wig costar in the movie as a couple of shady surgeons who are supposed to be the antagonists but instead are more interesting than the films incredibly dull lead.

With a whole bunch of big ideas that go nowhere, Mute feels like a passion project for director Duncan Jones. The world that is established is undoubtedly well put together feeling a bit reminiscent of Blade Runner, but the story and the characters are that of b-movie quality. Paul Rudd’s performance does salvage the movie to a certain degree as does Justin Therox no matter how bad his wig was, but the incredibly stupid premise and questionable decision making done by the protagonist makes this one the most head-scratching pictures Netflix might have ever released.

By the time Mute reaches its conclusion -whatever that may be- it has become laughably awful. Between the main character that is only a fraction of the film, Brian Fantana as the antagonist, the girlfriend that no one cares about, Justin Theroux’s blonde wig, and the little girl that shows up only when it's convenient for the script until she isn't for which her father will ask whoever is near to watch her as he steps out for a second to go kill, Mute feels like one big run-on sentence full of ideas that go nowhere and characters that do nothing. Everyone should see Mute for a lesson in how not to execute a story and maybe even for a couple of laughs. Not with the movie of course, but at it. 

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Holly Glinski