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Guilty Pleasures: Mute 

When? 2018

What's it rated? TV-MA

Where? Netflix

Lately we've been bombarded with films that have the same eerie dystopian message: Something ridiculous took over the planet and what's left on Earth are the remnants of what was. Then you follow some age-old storyline of finding out what went wrong, why this technology is going to save the world, the people who must seek vengeance ... blah blah blah. Don't get me wrong, I'm a sucker for those, even the bad ones.

Apparently Mute, a Netflix original film, is one of those bad ones. But that's just, like, your opinion, man, and here's mine. The film directed by Duncan Jones (Moon, Source Code)—David Bowie's son and, yes, there's a Bowie song in this movie—tells the story of a mute Amish man, Leo (Alexander Skarsgård), in futuristic Berlin in search of his missing Iranian girlfriend.

The film starts with a flashback to when Leo was on vacation with his family and got in a motorboat accident that severed his vocal cords. When he reached the hospital, his Amish family refused a surgical procedure that could have healed him. So fast-forward into the future, and Leo is now a mute bartender at an adult entertainment club and is dating one of the waitresses, Naadirah (Seyneb Saleh).

In this very Blade Runner-esque Berlin, it's dark and all the scenes seem to happen at night, when the neon lights are at their brightest and sleazy people are at their finest. Leo leads a very Amish life. He writes everything he needs to say down on a notepad; he still burns a lantern for light; and he doesn't even know how to use a cellphone—what kind of crazy is that, am I right?

After being gifted his first cellphone by Naadirah, she starts acting weird, telling him she needs to reveal something about her past to him. Before she can tell him, she suddenly disappears, sending Leo on a wild hunt for his blue-haired gal. He even dares to learn to use his cellphone in order to find her.

At the same time, we're introduced to two American surgeons, Catus Bill (Paul Rudd) and Duck (Justin Theroux), who perform surgeries for the head criminal honchos in the city. Bill has a secret and performs the surgeries as a way to earn money and hopefully a ticket out of Berlin for him and his daughter. But there's something weird about his reasoning to leave.

The movie has a lot of holes and prolonged scenes that seem unnecessary. There's a lot of background noise as Leo can't talk, but it doesn't stop him from hitting people with his bat for his woman. But the way that all the characters are ultimately woven together takes a turn for an unpredictable ending, not to mention the creepy side story of Duck basically being a pedophile and sleeping with younger girls—literally make-your-skin-crawl weird.

If anything, watch Mute because of the way it gives this Amish man a reason to stumble around a technology driven world and for Rudd's legendary mustache. (126 min.) Δ


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