Spoiler Review: Netflix's 'Mute' is not the 'Moon' follow-up we've waited for
Why can’t we have nice things?
February has been a disastrous month for Netflix starting with the terrible Cloverfield Paradox and ending with the even more terrible Mute. Judging by trailers and hype alone, I spotlighted my five most anticipated Originals and boy have I been disappointed.
The Ritual was the best feature so far, and that was a slightly above average thriller at best. When We First Met was a generic rom-com, Irreplaceable You was one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen on Netflix, and there was absolutely nothing special about Everything Sucks.
But Mute was going to be the saving grace. Alexander Skarsgard, Paul Rudd and Justin Theroux in a futuristic drama? A pseudo-sequel to the critically acclaimed Moon complete with a cameo from Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell), himself? What could go wrong?
Overall, the story seemed disjointed. It was almost as if Duncan Jones had a bunch of ideas for cool individual scenes with no master plan for how they would fit together. There were some stunning visuals. The time lapse scene of the sky above the city comes to mind, or even the library scene depicting multiple ‘Skarsgard’s moving throughout the building. But those did a better job at spicing up the trailer than the movie itself.
The emotional stakes were never really established, undermining the entire film. We were basically told that Leo (Alex Skarsgard) and Naad (Seyneb Saleh) were in love and then immediately asked to care about Naad’s disappearance. It felt rushed and disconnected.
The lazy writing didn’t end there, as the various clue reveals seemed vaguely coincidental if not completely unrealistic. He finds her address from a futuristic vending machine that delivers your food? Might as well say, “Oh yeah, in the future, phone books list your current location instead of your home address. Because of GPS tracking or something. So that’s how Leo finds the bad guy.”
How about Leo figuring out Cactus Bill’s address by reading it on an envelope? Cactus was going to the office to pick up his IDs, so why would they be in an envelope addressed to him? It was just an easy way for the lead to discover a clue, with no regard for logical writing.
Sam Bell’s cameo was a ten-second news clip playing at a local diner? The employee quickly turned off the TV, effectively terminating the one interesting part of the Mooniverse. Good choice there.
Weak attempts at side plots fell short. There was no conceivable reason to dive into Bill’s military background or Duck's perversions. The creative choice to make your comic relief a disgusting pedophile seemed like a strange one to me. Hard to laugh at those witty quips.
Paul Rudd actually outperformed his co-stars, despite a seemingly shoddy script. In a film filled with forced monologues due to the main characters inability to speak, Rudd’s charm shined through. It just wasn’t even close to enough to save this one.
Skip this film and thank me later. I’d still recommend Moon, I’m just upset that this was the follow-up.