By Dave B
Despite its current 10% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, Mute (Netflix) isn’t a terrible movie. I didn’t have to turn it off halfway through. It didn’t cause my overabundance of energy and issues with a short of attention span to kick in and make me pace around my living room for two hours. No urge to gouge my eyes out. However, Mute is certainly a bad movie. There is no reason for a movie that’s over two hours long to have no point, no takeaway, and fail to connect with viewers on any level.
Mute tells the tale of a non-practicing, mute Amish man searching for his secular girlfriend who happens to have a secret (surprise, surprise). There is little else to this movie. No overarching messages or lessons to be learned. There is no character growth. There aren’t even any compelling action sequences. In short, the movie is boring, and the “mystery” that is supposed to keep audiences interested isn’t compelling enough to engender any emotional investment in the film.
Visually, the movie looks pretty good. Its vision of a near-future Berlin seems plausible. However, there is little world-building. This causes several inconsistencies (that could be overlooked in a better movie) to become annoyingly glaring. For example, I just can’t believe that food kiosks in a future Berlin wouldn’t have text options for service, in addition to verbal ones. That example may seem like nitpicking, but it’s emblematic of the two main problems with the movie: it lazily advances its derivative plot through implausible conveniences and it doesn’t possess enough of a plot to distract from its numerous flaws.
Perhaps most egregiously, none of the characters felt real, because they didn’t react to situations in realistic ways. We’re expected to believe that a law-abiding, formerly-practicing Amish man wouldn’t even contemplate calling the police for help resolving his problem? That he’s technologically literate enough to drive a car and figure out several fairly advanced devices, but he’s not savvy enough to google a phone number? That a man who is AWOL from the US military would have an in-person conversation with his commanding officer (with MPs present) and they don’t make an effort to arrest him? (I actually don’t understand the purpose of that scene at all, a not uncommon occurrence in the film.)
In a movie with something to say, I may not have cared as much about the rampant inconsistencies. I may not have been as bothered by unlikable, unrealistic characters. But this movie had nothing to say and no reason to be. I do not recommend. 4.5/10