Gonger Reviews: Mudbound
Starring: Carey Mulligan, Jason Mitchell, Garrett Hedlund, Rob Morgan, Jason Clarke, Jonathan Banks and Mary J. Blige.
Synopsis: Two veterans return to Mississippi after the Allies win World War Two but soon find that not much changes in the Delta. Even if you liberated the world from tyranny.
Writing: Narration! It doesn’t work! Yes, I’ll admit that there are some exceptions to the rule but this is not one of them. When the flick started I just put my head in my hands and thought “Two hours. Two hours of narration! WHY ME?” It's totally distracting. Show - don’t tell! That said, Virgil Williams does write a meaningful story and the plot points are nail biting! The characters are all very interesting, as well, which gives our players plenty to work with. I’d say the dialogue is fleshed out pretty well and well written, too. I considered a 1.5/2 but that's what narration does folks! 1/2
Directing: Innovative. That's one word I'd use. Another word I'd use? Bloated. This flick is based off a book of the same name by Hillary Jordan and as such I think director Dee Rees was trying to pack too much of the book into the flick. Like someone trying to stuff too much food int heir mouth. Bloated! Some points seemed redundant to the overall plot and normally I’d reserve such a comment to the writing section but I think she just wanted to do these scenes as they are well directed, just kind of pointless. The set pieces aren’t extravagant but Rees uses the surroundings to her advantage. Then, being a character piece, she gets the most interesting performances out of the actors. Great vision 1.5/2
Editing: Too many flash backs to the same scene. We get it. Come on! Do something else! It gets to be repetitive and it seems like a simple fix. Like a neat sound edit or something. Otherwise, Mako Kamitsuna cuts a tight film with a great run time. And it's very watchable which is the ultimate point, I suppose. What the hay, I’m feeling generous today: 1.5/2
Cinematography: Wow! What a pretty-looking film. Rachel Morrison completes this vision with slick camera work and attention to detail. I’m a sucker for big sky shots, though. She doesn’t pull any punches either and gives us some simple rustic shots. Very neat and engaging. But I have a nagging feeling. What didn’t I like? I wrote down 1.5/2 But it probably deserves a 2/2
Acting: Carey Mulligan is magic! Not magical. Just magic! She brings the feels in this flick like a whirlwind! Just incredible! But that's no surprise. She's good in everything. Mary J. Blige really grounds this flick, too, which I thought was surprising as her filmography isn’t that great. Here she stands out and we get to see Mary J. Blige the thespian, not Mary J. Blige the diva. I look forward to more Mary J. Thespian from her. Our two leads (of the second act), Jason Mitchell and Garrett Hedlund, are great opposite each other but seem laboured when interacting with the rest of the cast. I’d like to see Mitchell and Bliges’ scenes have better chemistry and Clarke's and Hedlund’s scenes have more risk. That may have been Clarke's fault, though. Great cast for a character drama and although the narration just about made my head explode it was performed by our players with great care. 1.5/2
A very honest flick with great performances. Check this one out on Netflix now streaming. Well, get to it then! 7.5/10
Allan Stringer @Gonger_Reviews
Allan Stringer (if that's his real name) hails from the Mutara Nebula and has travelled through space and time to check out the only thing us pathetic humans have to offer: movies. Marvel at his intelligence!