After a ride through the fantasy with Warcraft, Duncan Jones returned to her first love, science fiction. But MUTE is there really a science-fiction film, in the end ?
Hitherto the career of Duncan Jones had a dynamic and promising. First, the pearl Moon, with its storyline to twist and on a modest budget, what better way to get noticed ? Hollywood then opened his arms in offering to Source Code, a friendly concept of science-fiction, before entrusting him with the reins of a blockbuster with Warcraft, The Beginning. In only three films, the son of David Bowie has established itself as one of the new captains of the cinema of genre, of those who are eagerly awaiting the new projects always more ambitious, hoping all the while paradoxically they will demonstrate the same originality and freshness that their first works. Alas, three times alas, after the experience of Warcraft, which had stifled his identity as a filmmaker, Jones does not seem to have found the antidote film that would allow him to rebuild his career on the works of genre fascinating.On paper, the MUTE had something to appeal. Relying on the few visual unveiled by Netflix and the synopsis announcing that the main character was an amish deaf, we had already imagined a work cyberpunk confronting a protagonist candide to a wealth of technology. The trouble is that the context of the genre science-fiction appears as a cosmetic effect not always justified. The film takes place in an environment that is cyberpunk which isn’t really the point named, as it evokes the recent Blade Runner 2049 and Altered Carbon (released barely a month on Netflix) without getting to show their height. We note first of all the art direction, which is not always inspired. The cyberpunk is a genre that generally plays on the overlays, even the confusion of the aesthetic, to express the hurly-burly of an urban futurist. The exercise therefore involves a risk, sometimes giving the impression of putting together visual patterns, without guarantee the consistency and the symbolic. MUTE gives unfortunately, this unpleasant feeling, especially when his lack of consistency also appears on the technical level, where the CGI and wide shots on the city’s lack of size and texture.
If it were simply a matter of sorting between different visual ideas, there would be no major impact on the story and it could be argued that there is that the result of the vagaries of production and filming. But the trouble is that the story also leaves us perplexed, since it takes place in a context, both political and social, that seems to be built on measures to justify plot points, without allowing to develop thematic-specific cyberpunk, or, more broadly, to science-fiction. The mood is more that of a film noir, a thriller, urban, such that it can be developed without necessarily resorting to robots or holograms. Strange Days (Kathryn Bigelow, 1995) included already a story black in a futuristic universe, but the mix of genres (sometimes called technoir) was actually thought to wear themed around virtual realities and piracy cybernetics. Here, in the state, one finds a construction and a problematic peeping out clearly on the side of Hardcore (Paul Schrader, 1979) where it was already a matter of a character pious, austere, and virtuous, in the face of a violent world and flawed.So, should we leave aside the alibi dystopian to MUTE and make the story violent and dramatic for what it is ? That is, but still he had taken the film to be better built, less weighed down by scenes that are too long that anémient the dramatic tension. If the plot finally takes shape in the second part, the first seems particularly unbalanced juggling awkwardly between the narrative line of Leo, the protagonist is mute, and the antagonists too hateful for that we are in empathy with them. On one side, Leo seems to turn in circles with the clues it has available, on the other, it’s hard to pay attention to issues, Duck and Cactus, the two surgeons, despite the interpretations tasty Paul Rudd and Justin Theroux.
To return to the issue of the lengths, one also wonders why the story insists so much on the fantasies of paedophiles of Duck. At the center of several scenes, often redundant, this item did not need to be supported so that the audience understands the intentions unhealthy character to the daughter of Cactus. There is no doubt quickly enough that the big innocent eyes of Leo will intersect those of the girl, and that the innocence of this last will be the final stake in the story. A little tenderness in a world of bullies ? May be yes, but if the world in question appears to us obscure, the tenderness has little chance of reaching us.
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• Achievement :Duncan Jones
• Screenplay :Michael Robert Johnson, Duncan Jones and Damon Peoples
• Main actors :Alexander Skarsgård, Paul Rudd and Justin Theroux
• Release Date :February 23, 2018 on Netflix
• Duration : 2h06min