Imagine you couldn’t speak. Like, at all. What would you do with your life? I would be pretty stranded, most of my day-to-day activities involve talking excessively to people to the point of annoyance, especially with my rather bassy voice, anyone can hear me. It restricts you from most opportunities, finding love can be difficult, even a job, but it may be different in the future.
Duncan Jones’ Mute is one of the latest sci-fi thrillers to hit Netflix with Alexander Skarsgård taking the lead. Set in Berlin, 2058, it has a promising outlook with inspiration from the likes of Blade Runner 2049 being involved. We have seen a few futuristic drama’s from Jones, such as Moon and Source Code, both successful in their own rights. However, when it comes to Mute, this is a whole different kettle of fish.
Leo (Alexander Skarsgård) has suffered from a boyhood boat injury his whole life, leaving him muted and not able to speak to anyone. Growing up in Amish family, it is prohibited to get surgery and to even interact with new technology. 40 years on from the accident, he is living life with the perfect girl, Naadirah (Seyneb Saleh) and a bog standard job in a bar. But, with technology developing all around him, he struggles to navigate himself around the city of Berlin, trying to find his missing girlfriend. With city gangster’s being the most likely kidnappers, he follows them, leading him to two undercover surgeons, Cactus Bill (Paul Rudd) and Duck (Justin Theroux). Having to fight his way around the city, will Leo ever find Naadirah?
When it comes down to it, there is nothing exciting to see here. Something that is supposedly filled with action turns out to have no action at all. You expect more especially after watching the trailer but this is a prime example of getting click baited by Netflix. Alexander Skarsgård may have been voted the sexiest actor alive by Glamour Magazine two years in a row but he is nothing but dull and average within his role. He shows no passion or any acting skills whatsoever. I’m starting to think he has nothing to him but sex appeal. Relating it to the likes of Blade Runner 2049 is an insult. It has the aesthetics but the world is not developed. They have just shoved a bunch of neon lights together to make it look pretty and hope it covers up Skarsgård’s shockingly bad performance. As a muted character, you would expect his emotions to be accentuated, but nope. Nothing is shown in his actions. An actor that can’t act.
The future. Directors love to try and predict what it is going to be like. But seriously, you couldn’t be any more predictable could you, Duncan Jones? Flying cars; check! Drones delivering food; check! Robotics taking over in entertainment; check! Give me something different! It’s like they’ve taken a focus group with a bunch of brainless children and taken their word as gospel. Nothing creative has gone into his depiction of the future.
The narrative is flawed from the beginning. Character development is non-existent. The future is boring. The director who is meant to be the creative one has created the least creative film ever. This film is dreadful. If you’ve just read this before watching it, don’t watch it, unless you enjoy watching awful crime sci-fi dramas then go ahead. Come back and say “Ed, you told me so!”.