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  • Gareth Crook

Mute (2018)

A young Amish boy in a childhood boating accident loses his vocal chords to a propeller. As opening scenes go, it’s pretty gripping. The Amish thing is always intriguing I find, there’s a sense of mystery to this community. They’re usually depicted in their humble lives, carts, horses, barns in middle America. That isn’t Mute though. This is a sci-fi picture. Blade Runner style future cities. Berlin in this case. Neon soaked skyscrapers and flying cars. This is Leo’s (Alexander Skarsgård) world or the one he finds himself in. He’s still Amish at heart, keeping his interactions as simple and pure as possible, to start with at least. Being mute though makes it tricky and so his girlfriend Naadirah (Seyneb Saleh) buys him a phone, a smart phone if you like, but it’s a brick. That’s the kind of styling we’ve got here, it’s a familiar filmic choice of ultra futuristic possibilities, delivered with a slight retro clunk. I’m not sure Leo and Naadirah are that suited. He’s the strong silent type. Decent, moral. She seems to be involved in something shady. Speaking of shady. Paul Rudd pops up as porno-tashed back street surgeon called Cactus Bill, but I’ll come back to him. Leo is out of step with this reality. Wide eyed innocence and honesty. That’s not to say he’s a saint, there’s too many sex scenes to claim that... oh and he works as a barman in a night club, but let’s just say he’s clearly not suited to the environment. I can’t make up my mind if I like it, does it have that weird Fifth Element/12 Monkeys kinda way about it or is it just misguided dross. As Leo feels out of step, so does this film, by about 30 years. It screams early 1990s. Not that that’s bad, but it’s another odd choice. Naadirah goes missing and Leo sets out trying to track her down, visiting a string of well known faces in increasingly bizarre situations, most notably Dominic Monaghan as a kinky geisha. Then of course there’s Cactus Bill. He wants out of this hell hole and it is pretty hellish. It’s hard to get a grip on what this is trying to be, but it’s seedy. Especially with his friend Duck (Justin Theroux) and his paedophilic tendencies. Anyway it alls feels very disjointed and I’m waiting for that one key scene that starts to tie it all together. It tries... but falls spectacularly short. Despite it clearly having had some money spent on it, it feels cheap and is nothing more than a 2 hour glowing train wreck. It does feel that there was something of a good story buried in here, but I’m buggered if know what it was. It just made me feel uncomfortable and I’ve decided I definitely don’t like it.


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