Mute (2018) Poster

(II) (2018)

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Great Story, not half bad
lojohn-7713126 February 2018
When I saw the initial reviews, I immediately prepared for disappointment. Turns out, the movie was great. Easily 7 to 7.5 and maybe a narrow 8/10 for me. It is technically above average, 3/10 is plain ridiculous.

I have to say this film is more drama than thriller. And yes, it can use a bit of refinement on pacing, and does lack a bit of punch. However, it did tug on my heartstrings on certain spots, and showcased a range of complex relationships and emotions between the characters. It's great fun because in the end, its hard to tell who the villain is. I say this as a person who appreciates Drama and slow tempo Art films.

This film is not meant to be: 1) a blockbuster thriller 2) a hard Sci Fi that pushes philosophical questions

Rather, it is more of a drama / tragedy that effectively uses the Sci Fi backdrop to highlight the contrasting character of the protagonist Leo. Who is a sensitive soul and a man pure at heart who is unaffected by all the neon signs and the madness that surrounds him.
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Better than reviews talk about it
iofeek-126 February 2018
Not boring at all. If you read all those movies done is the past decade it is almost a rare gem, we enjoyed it until the end, new sci fi histories are rare to pace and this one is kind of good one. Congrats
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C+ Movie bolstered by A+ Performances
WHBower23 February 2018
What would have otherwise been a 4/10 movie is elevated by the 10/10 performances of Skarsgård, Rudd, and Theroux - with Rudd, in particular, like you've never experienced him.

Once you've waded through rehashed cyberpunk dystopia (for too long a stretch), this trio of characters might reward you by film's end, and in high Greco-Shakespearean fashion.
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Ambitious and evocative, but also pretentious and impenetrable.
Troy_Campbell26 February 2018
Netflix has been going all-in on original content over the last few years, but until recently that was primarily through long-form narrative shows (one story told over multiple episodes) and disposable Adam Sandler movies. The last six months has seen the streaming service giant make a big push into A-grade feature length work (Mudbound, Bright, Cloverfield Paradox, to name just a few), and this sprawling sci-fi is arguably their most intriguing prospect yet. With ambitious auteur Duncan Jones given free rein on what he has expressed as his passion project, having concocted the story with childhood friend and co-writer Michael Robert Johnson, there's zero chance of it being dull. And dull it most definitely isn't, the propulsive story-a man scours the grimy underbelly of a futuristic Berlin when his girlfriend goes missing-keeps the viewer on their toes whilst the gorgeous realisation of a Blade Runner-esque tech-future is a pure feast for thine eyes. But here's the catch: with a reluctance to explain almost anything about this world, or provide character motivation for anyone other than Alexander Skarsgård's silent bartender Leo, the plot can be complicated to the point of pretentious. There are a lot of little flourishes and subtle touches that colour this universe, although they would have meant so much more if the overall context was clearer. As it stands these unexplained moments become increasingly frustrating, threatening to derail the whole movie. His acting skills well and truly put to the test, Skarsgård is likable enough as the gentle giant on a mission; however, Paul Rudd is horribly miscast as a scumbag AWOL soldier, his persistent mean-spirited goading of others regularly veering into pantomime. There is clearly a lot of passion and ambition on display with Mute, but while for some it will be evocative and demanding, for others it will simply be pompous and impenetrable. For me it's somewhere in the middle with the scales tipping ever so slightly towards the latter.
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Promising Storyline, Messy Screenplay, Uninteresting Character
claudio_carvalho25 February 2018
In the near future, in Berlin, the Amish bartender Leo (Alexander Skarsgård) works in a bar with his beloved girlfriend Naadirah (Seyneb Saleh) and her gay friend Luba (Robert Sheehan). Leo is mute since he was a boy and had an accident in a lake. His mother, averse to technology, did not let Leo to be submitted to a corrective surgery since she believed God would heal him. Meanwhile, the American surgeons Cactus Bill (Paul Rudd) and Duck (Justin Theroux) work for the local gangsters. Cactus Bill has a daughter and dreams on returning to the United States, but he does not have documentation since he deserted the army. His hope is to get fake documents with the mobsters so that he can go back home. His partner Duck has documents but is a pedophile and likes to live in Berlin. When Naadirah vanishes without a trace, Leo seeks her out and goes to the underworld of Berlin, where his life entwines with Cactus Bill and Duck. Will he find his beloved Naadirah?

"Mute" is a disappointing film by the cult-director Duncan Jones. Despite the good acting and great music score and cinematography that recalls "Altered Carbon", the promising storyline fails mainly because of the messy screenplay and the uninteresting lead character. Most of the viewers certainly wants to like "Mute", but Leo does not help since it is an unattractive and annoying character. In the end credits, Duncan Jones dedicates this film to his father David "Bowie" Jones and to his beloved nanny Marion Skene, an incredible woman for caring for him as a toddler when his parents split. My vote is five.

Title (Brazil): "Mudo" ("Mute")
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jjcourtenay25 February 2018
I was pretty surprised by the reviews, I thought it was a very well made movie even if it does take a lot of direction from movies like Blade Runner, but that's not a bad thing. Very dark but also a sensitive and moving film.
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Slow Pacing and Weird Character Choices Handcuff Mute After a Promising Start
CANpatbuck366424 February 2018
We're starting to get more movies and TV focused on futuristic noir. Blade Runner 2049 and Altered Carbon have just come down the pike and Mute joins that crowd. They all share a similar style, exposed neon colours and a creepy and dirty city to play around in. Mute doesn't reinvent the wheel, but they change enough to show off an interesting style. I enjoyed Mute's cinematography and environments even though it shares this vision with movies like Blade Runner. This was needed too, when you're starting to drift from Leo and Bill's adventures, they bring in some new trick or piece of technology to move things along.

Despite the negative reviews, the one positive things I heard before turning Mute on was Paul Rudd's performance as Cactus Bill. I have to agree, Rudd actually makes for a compelling villain and this is a big departure from Ant-Man. His performance is noteworthy, and it was a good reminder what he's capable of. Alexander Skarsgård is fine as Leo, he's just not given a lot to work with. He's an underrated actor but he's kneecapped by his character. Seyneb Saleh is good in her part as Naadirah. She's sultry yet reserved and she performs as capably as she can. Justin Theroux is suitably slimy as Donald, he has a good interplay with Rudd and that again helps the movie along. I don't approve of what they do with his character, it just comes across as gross and then they never bring it up again.

Netflix is becoming a place for filmmakers to explore their dream projects. I approve of that and we as moviegoers need more unique stuff as many things are just becoming more and more formulaic. But this idea is a double-edged sword, while its good that we get unconventional content, the flip-side is that there is no one there to rein the creative team in when things go array. My biggest problem with Mute isn't that it was long, it was that the pacing of this movie can be compared to how fast a glacier floats. We have an interesting setting and mildly interesting characters, but the movie just aimlessly wanders like Leo when he's looking for Naadirah. Maybe it would have been a little cliche but this would have been so much better if they had made some minor edits to the story and made Mute take place over 1 night. We spend entire nights with Leo where he makes little to no progress and then we watch him wake up and try all over again. It's not like he makes a ton of gradual progress, the plot shifts on his very quick realizations so why couldn't this have been tightened down? I don't necessarily need a ton of action, but our main character is a blank slate other than knowing a little about his background, the movie needed something other than the acting and the cool environments to coast on.

I've already talked about how Mute's plot needed to be tightened up and have some added urgency but the other crime that this movie commits is that it loses any leftover goodwill with its unusual conclusion. A lot of things can be forgiven with a strong and exciting resolution and if you have the choice between starting strong and finishing strong, go with the strong finish. Instead of ramping up the stakes, the movie dives into becoming weirder and more contemplative. Characters make choices for no other reason than to propel the story, they aren't realistic, and you can tell that they're going to come back and bite them immediately. Mute needed to desperately pull a rabbit out of its hat to keep me interested over the long run time and while the film features a plot twist, it wasn't nearly enough, and the ending left me nonplussed and frustrated.

With the absolute beating this movie took from the critics, I thought I was in for a train wreck. But I was actually pretty impressed with this movie after the first 30 minutes. They assembled a good cast; the environment is fun to look at and they set up a decent mystery. It was only when I got past the first hour that the pacing, the weird character motivations and the meandering nature of the story started to get to me. I've enjoyed Duncan Jones' past work and I'm glad he got to make this. But Mute is far from must-see cinema, if you really like stuff like Blade Runner and are big into science fiction, this might be worth your time. Otherwise, Mute is another mixed bag from Netflix as they try to jump start making blockbuster entertainment.
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too much going on, too many characters, too much story. not focused
reaseltbim21 April 2018
This movie is not bad, I dont think it is bad in any way, I dont think people understand the problem with this movie. the problem is not that it is bad, the problem is that there is too much going on and because there is so much going on you have a hard time connecting to any character and you have trouble concentrating on one story.

that was my problem anyway, one minute you are follwing the mute guy in his quest to find the woman and the next scene you are following Paul Rudd for no reason. it didn't make any sense at first, it felt disjointed and it felt like one story was taking over the other. When one of the stories became interesting you would jump to the other one without any connection, without any rhyme. It didnt feel like a movie but it felt like two episodes of a show being cut between each other. The characters do connect at the end but by then you lost all interest and you are too confused about whats going on. The other problem is that the sets jump too much from futuristic to regular. you would be in a Blade Runner like place at one point that looks totally futuristic and the next minute you are in someone's apparment that looks like it came from the 80s. at one point you are in a futuristic city street and the next second you are on a regular bridge that looks like a street of today. it just didnt make sense. (at one point i was wondering if the scenes in regular looking sets were Flashbacks or went meant to be scenes from the past because the change was too drastic)

I kinda wish we only followed one story, i wish half the movie was one story and the other half the second story. I wish the sets were more consistent.
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too flawed to be enjoyable
rayxearl23 February 2018
This premise had a lot of potential. I wanted to like the movie, but was really disappointed in the end. It was unfocused, the worldbuilding felt inconsistent and the different parts didn't seem connected. A futuristic Berlin skyline, retro interiors, contemporary cars, and buildings didn't fit together in this context.

The acting by the three main protagonists was alright and had many good parts, but was hampered by a rather bad, uninteresting plot which included some dull dialogs. It sometimes just felt randomly diced together.

It wasn't a terrible movie, but it was just too flawed to be enjoyable.
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good movie with interesting storyline and nice cinematography
super_yorch24 February 2018
A lot was put into this movie and it shows. Some may have trouble understanding the story or even consider it "slow" at times, but those are the same people that want every movie to be a super-hero or Hollywood type movie, and this is up there with the avante-garde, insightful and artistic movies. I think the storyline could have been a bit more polished, but in general the looks of the film, the acting, etc do no disappoint. If you have not seen it, do not allow critics form your judgement, watch it and then decide if it fits your viewing likes or not.
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Could Have Been Good Except it Makes Zero Sense
leftbanker-123 February 2018
It's like the writers thought it would be clever just to put together a bunch of random scenes of violence with only the vaguest idea of a plot. Amish? Boating Accident? Mute. Bartender? Underground surgery? I have one more question, your honor. Why? why was it in the future? This was just completely stupid from start to finish. The thing is, there was a lot of tension along the way which was squandered...because none of it made any sense! And it's two hours of not making sense.
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Forget the 1 and other low scores!
ladcrooks-26-19289324 February 2018
Check my other reviews if you think I am some other bull crap reviewer. Now i got that out the way!

No its not a blade runner! Not quite that time. Maybe not far off, so lets quit the comparisons. Crikey someone was complaining about this, and yet how many westerns are there? Do we say someone is copying a sheriff getting shot, a gunslinger in town .....? Bloody hell give this film a break!

It touched on the dark side where other films do not or rarely touch, this was the only part that bothered me, other than that, the character builds of the main baddies, meaning the doctors were brilliant.

I gave this a 7 - I liked it. Lot of other films out there get higher than they should because of jumped up reviews. You cannot blame IMDb, they are giving anyone the right to use this service. There not here to police reviews. Rotten tomatoes more and likely suffer the same!

Here is my way of deciding - look at your age group, myself 45 + so all the films that have explosions with a blink of an eye, every baddie does kung fu, everyone is racing driver .... well leave that for the kids
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Really disappointing
grahambrot25 February 2018
Bad screenplay. A storyline that leads to nowhere. Could not believe I was watching a movie from a director that made MOON and SOURCE CODE.
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Some of the things that are really wrong with this picture ...
Thom-Peters10 March 2018
The story of MUTE is not a science-fiction-, it is a Vietnam-story, informed by the M*A*S*H-franchise. If it were set in the early 1970s and in Thailand, many annoying details that are just wrong would fall right into place. This is where it belongs. The gratuitous SF-masquerade is only an inane gimmick, it turns the plot itself into a fish out of water. "Cactus Bill" and "Duck" (Paul Rudd & Justin Theroux), two US army surgeons who deserted from their military unit during a war in an Asian country, are even still dressed for the 1970s.

The CGI-look of Berlin in 2052, praised by an astounding amount of shills, is a complete rehash of ideas from the 1970s and 1980s, predominantly mimicking the vision of 2019 Los Angeles in "Blade Runner". Back then it was of course unique and amazing, but it was also far from being prophetic. The L.A. of today doesn't look like the one imagined in 1982 at all. On top of this MUTE's production designers still think that nothing says "future" better that neon signs ("Neon lights, shimmering neon lights", Kraftwerk, 1978) and nothing says "Berlin" better than graffiti scribblings. This is just lazy and tacky. While "Blade Runner" is still great, MUTE was born as and will always be kitsch. Some people will hate it, others will like it - "Kitsch is a beautiful word" (Barry Ryan, 1970). Whatever. The main reason for the praising of MUTE is a bunch of stale stereotypes, really.

40-year-old Leo (Alexander Skarsgard), who is mute since an accident in his childhood, hasn't learned yet to really cope with his handicap. Most of the time he looks awkward, gawky, insecure. In MUTE's 2052 it would only take minutes to give him back his voice. Author and director Duncan Jones' cop-out: Leo is a devout Amish - even though he is not living in an Amish community and is working as a bartender at a strip club. That's not how Amishness works, Mr. Jones.

Leo drives a Mercedes-Benz built in 1972. It still can't fly.

Leo's weapon of choice is a bedpost. At this point it should be clear to everyone that Mr. Jones is just joshing with his audience.

MUTE will make it in every top ten list about stupid decisions villains make when they are going to kill the hero.

The mise-en-scène is sluggish, the characters are as unappealing as the anachronistic story lines. This movie is a complete train wreck. Duncan Jones has dedicated it to his father, David Bowie. That's a sacrilege.

What is wrong with this picture? Everything.
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Just because it's called "Mute" doesn't excuse it for having nothing to say.
jonpage9324 February 2018
Since Moon entered my top five in 2009 (it's still there by the way), I've been eagerly waiting for Duncan Jones to make Mute, which acts as a companion piece instead of a direct sequel. I enjoyed Source Code, but I gave Warcraft a miss because it's a video game adaptation, and they've never been worth the price of admission.

As sublime as it is, it looks like Moon might have been a fluke. I had high hopes for Mute, but it's like Jones took a first-year student film script and somehow got millions of dollars to make it. It's a horrendously disjointed, bloated disaster whose plot would be boring in a normal setting, and is downright wasted in the world in which it's set.

Is this what it was like when The Phantom Menace was released?
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Awesome in every way
noahsachs25 February 2018
I loved this film, it's a sci-fi film definitely worth watching. My favorite part is the reference to M*A*S*H (the movie): two military surgeons Paul Rudd as Cactus Bill and Justin Theroux as Duck doing a great knowing update to Trapper and Hawkeye from M*A*S*H, the martini, Hawaiian shirts, the surgery room banter, and Duck calling Cactus Bill "babe" (from Kelly's Heroes?) made me smile every time. Also, set in a Blade Runner future with a fresh German twist, not something I've seen before. Great special effects, fantastic setting, beautiful acting. Highly recommended!
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half and half
SnoopyStyle15 July 2018
Warning: Spoilers
It's Berlin in the near future. Leo (Alexander Skarsgård) is a mute nightclub bartender. He fights two customers for harassing his waitress girlfriend Naadirah and gets fired. She has secrets and goes missing. Meanwhile, American surgeons Cactus Bill (Paul Rudd) and Duck (Justin Theroux) are working in the underground black market. The two stories cross paths again and again.

Duncan Jones makes a franchise sequel to Moon although Sam Rockwell only has a cameo in this movie. It's after Moon in the same world but about different people. I'm drawn to Leo's story as he searches for Naadirah. It's a journey into the underbelly of Berlin. The other half of the movie is far less compelling. Cactus and Duck's journey has no destination. They have no goals. There is nothing driving them. Of course, there is an inevitable reveal of a connection but there is no point in following them before the reveal. It needs to play with time so that their journey ends with Cactus killing Naadirah just after the bar fight. It would end at the same time as Leo finding Cactus with the body. The two stories can take place during different times and end in the same place. As of now, half of this movie has no drive or tension. So it's half compelling and a half failure.
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A Hell Of A Boring Sci-Fi With Uninspired Setting & Bland Characters
CinemaClown3 March 2018
Duncan Jones' spiritual sequel to his directorial debut is everything his 2009 film wasn't: dull, derivative, boring, hollow, muddled, overlong & tonally inconsistent. Though not as unbearable as Warcraft, Mute is still terrible on almost every level. Insipid, uninspiring & disappointing, it's a tediously crafted & lifelessly narrated sci-fi that's lacking in all storytelling aspects, has no sense of direction whatsoever, and is brought to life with zero passion or vision. A huge letdown by all means.
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A challenging, bittersweet personal project
ekveland24 February 2018
Warning: Spoilers
I saw the second it came out and I came out of it feeling like I liked it, but I needed to digest it more. Here are my digested thoughts:

  • By far and large being squeezed out of a sandwich between BR 2049 and Altered Carbon has done it no favours. It has visual flair, especially for its budget, but with those fresh in our memories and so similar in style it will undoubtedly be compared.

  • It really needed a script doctor (pour another one out for Carrie Fisher). The components for greatness are there, but the tenuous connections between the two plots (of which Hawkeye and Pierce are by far the more interesting) needed to be interwoven much earlier.

  • I know it was first drafted 16 years ago, but when your entire plot hinges on the women in refrigerators trope you are already fighting an uphill battle in 2018

  • Coming fresh off Three Billboards I saw a lot of similarities in how ambiguously the characters were handled. Not as deftly handled, but very much on the same wavelength in treating the audience as adults and showing "difficult" characters and complex relationships. Even the pedophilia angle, although that may have tipped the scales for many to deal with in how it was portrayed.

  • Score was fantastic.

  • The world was believable to me, in its mix of old and new.

  • Just enough Moon references to not become unbearable

  • Still unclear on why some side characters were needed. A lot of the fat could have been excised with getting rid of the Lock Stock gangsters and the two timing pimp. The transpansexual ex boyfriend turned friend was needed, but needed a more consistent personality and arc.

  • A mute lead is a fantastic challenge. The amish backstory was a perfect explanation for his condition as well as some good quirky sci fi writing. I'm just not entirely convinced he pulled it off.

I'm a big fan of Duncan, and have followed and interacted with him on Twitter for years. He's a genuinely good guy who has gone through a string of personal tragedy. I'm glad he got to make his pet project, but I wonder if it wouldn't have been more fully baked if it had gestated a few more years until his personal turmoil had settled more.

It's a movie you should definitely watch, and watch with an open mind. It is not perfect, but it is definitely interesting.
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Better enjoyed by a niche audience
Jithindurden25 February 2018
Paul Rudd was fantastic and even the amazing world building and the stunning visuals fall short in front of his performance. The plot was ok and the narrative was engaging but I think I kind of get why many won't like this. I think this would appeal to those who would like a mix of Refn and cyberpunk but both toned down.
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Decent sci-fi murder mystery
bettycjung23 February 2018
2/23/18. Not too bad if you are into sci-fi movies. Shades of Bladerunner ambience made this a watchable film noirish murder mystery. Stellar cast lived up to their reputations.
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Absolutely outstanding!
brandyjirik24 February 2018
I dont write reviews very often but this movie is definately worth it.I was drawn into this film from the very first minute and didn't even get up for a second.Skargards performance was simply outstanding,Paul Rudd was phenomenal and everything about it was fantastic. The storyline kept me wondering what the end result would be and did not dissapoint.Skarsgard didnt have to say a word to make me feel his pain,determination and his struggle to find the one he loves no matter what it takes.Grab a snack,turn off the phone and immerse youself in this amazing movie.
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Totally Disappointed
Ex3vd24 February 2018
I've been waiting all 2017 for this movie with a picture of Paul Rudd with mustache expecting for a great movie, and I'm completely disappointed, everything in this movie is bad, the story, the script, the characters, the ambient, and the movie is extremely slow and tedious.

The history is weak and repeated, the woman dramatically says "You don't know who I am" and we have our movie, I'm tired of this poor resource about the mystery of the poor girl.

The script is weak, the characters are poorly written with silly and exaggerated dialogues, many useless scenes lengthen the film that supposed to have 1 hour and 10 minutes, the fact that the character is mute don't complement anything in the history of the film, and his motivations are too exaggerated for such events.

The Acting was supposed to save the movie but the characters are so poorly written that it even harms the acting, they sell the movie as the face of Paul Rudd but it's Alexander Skarsgård who is the protagonist here, and he don't do anything new, I've seen this character so many times and he is that hero character who will do everything to rescue the maiden, used in the most linear way possible. Paul Rudd and Justin Theroux (Leftovers) are great actors, but their characters who are the best in the movie are still very poor, especially the character of Justin Theroux who starts well and gets worse every second without stopping.

And neither the visual of the movie saves it, enough of this Blade Runner copying, they don't know how to do different as if the city was forced to be wet every day, there is no future other than the wet one, and guess what, just not even rained in that place. The big city is always night there is no morning in that place, and when they leave the city it's that as if the future had only arrived in one place in particular and in the rest of the world is banned to ride a flying car.
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What the....?
The_Movie_King_7524 February 2018
This was a HUGE disappointment. One would expect a somewhat good movie on the grounds of who co wrote and directed this movie, Duncan Jones. Duncan Jones first movie, except from a short, was Moon. A great movie that won him a lot of awards, and every person with knowledge of movies would forever remember the name of Duncan Jones because of Moon. His second movie was Source Code, a good and well crafted movie. Warcraft was his third movie. A disappointing box office haul and mixed reviews for Warcraft. The planned sequel is on hold, indefinitely. I think all the previous movies has something special in them, and i enjoyed watching them. Moon is a very good movie, and definitely the best Duncan Jones has made. On the other side of the spectrum we find "Mute". This is the worst movie from Duncan Jones, by far. The story is a mess, and I just don't get it. It's an attempt on sci fi noir i believe. The only thing bright in this boring and messy movie is Paul Rudd, who steals every scene he is in. It wouldn't have been a Cinema movie, but straight to DVD if it wasn't for Netflix. If you have other options, i would stay away from this movie.
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A Masterpiece
ijazahmadaqsa23 February 2018
A Clockwork Orange (1971), Blade Runner (1982), Brazil (1985), Strange Days (1995), Moon (2009), Drive (2011), Zero Theorem (2013), Blade Runner 2049 (2017).

If you've seen any of the above movies, then you will absolutely love and be thrilled with Mute. It has countless references to the above movies in so many ways that for those who haven't seen those classic dystopian films, this movie will not make much sense both story-wise and stylistically.

The story-line may confuse a lot of people, but the pay-off it delivers is absolutely stunning and transcendent. The silence of the main character (Leo) is a thrilling plot device in and of itself, hence the very name of the movie. I would suggest the people who had a problem with the silence of the main character watch Drive (2011), you'll get your answers there.

The run time at over just 2 hours might be daunting for a lot of people, but like Blade Runner 2049 the length of the movie is worth it given the expansive story-line and its various important and dramatic subplots. The movie requires patience, it's not flashy, it's not quick, it's a slow burn that is worth it. I have a feeling that the same folks who dislike the slow-burn have not seen or liked Blade Runner 2049 or Brazil (1985), it's on par with Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011) which is highly regarded as a masterpiece in and of itself.

The soundtrack is beautiful, combined with a cinematography that is absolutely spot on and perfect. Altogether, the story-line, soundtrack and cinematography deliver a powerful movie that draws from highly respected classic films and this is where it would lose most audiences because of its complex callbacks to the aforementioned movies. I agree, it's not for everyone but for those who appreciate the kind of cyber-punk dystopian, slow-burn movies listed above then you will absolutely love and enjoy Mute (2018).
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