Welcome witches and warlocks,

Today I will be reviewing the science fiction feature MUTE (2018) by writer/director Duncan Jones.  To best describe the story, I will turn to Netflix’s official description:

“When his girlfriend vanishes, a mute man ventures into a near-future Berlin’s seamy underworld where his actions speak louder than words.”

Listen, babe, as I spin a review of the latest futuristic noir to come down the line.  This new juxtaposition of old time story telling with high tech trappings has a neon palette that is sure to impress those who love some good eye candy.  I mean, hun, it is so visually stimulating that it makes it hard to believe anyone would ever want to leave.

As we can tell early on, though, there is a social hierarchy to this world that is not all sunshine and roses.  Heck, man, some people would do anything to get out of this city as the war raging outside has kept many undesirables or ex-patriots to take up residence in this neon soaked metropolis.  It does not help one iota that the newscasts keep on showing that even the large corporations that mankind depend upon have taken it upon themselves to institute an illegal cloning program to keep their costs low.

It is against this backdrop, babe, that our silent hero begins knocking out thugs and kicking down doors to find his missing girlfriend.  While this mute avenger has shown great range in the past, this go round his character seems resigned to either looking forlorn or tough as nails in almost every scene he occupies.  There are moments, hun, where his chops shine through, but sadly they do not come as often as one would wish.

Now, man, the real entertainment comes from two wisecracking doctors who early on keep the audience and mafia in stitches.  While their connection to the events seems tangential at best, rest assured that these two hepcats have a very firm place in the denouement that brings their early actions full circle.  While the chemistry between the two is definitely one of the highlights, there are still some moments that require us to really think on their motivations to justify their actions.  It is explainable, hun, it just is less about the text and more about the subtext.

Though to be honest, man, this is really less science fiction and much more noir based than some might believe.  Therefore, it is all about the pacing, babe, and the slow reveal of each character’s selfish motivations.  Those looking for a high speed hit of neon space travel should look elsewhere, while those who want a character focused drama that relies on the audience putting some thought into the proceedings will find themselves right on this flick’s wavelength. To be honest, hun, it takes a long time to get any answers, but the finale is worthwhile because it nicely ties up the lead’s arc.

All in all, while this is certainly more noir than science fiction, it is still an engrossing watch thanks to some nice visuals.  The lead performer does his best with what little he is given, but the supporting cast is much more entertaining.  Fans of flicks like Blade Runner (1982) or Brick (2005) will find this to be of a similar vein.

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