Duncan Jones, director of the classic film Moon and the so-good movie Source Code, has continued his slump that started with Warcraft: The Beginning.
Actually, Netflix’s Mute qualifies as a total disaster—a film so bad that Jones might find himself looking for sitcom-TV gigs in the near future.
Alexander Skarsgard plays Leo, an Amish bartender in future Germany (you read that right) who lost his ability to speak in a boat-propeller accident as a kid. His girlfriend (Seyneb Saleh) disappears, sending him on a wild search that involves him hitting bad guys with big wooden sticks, like Joe Don Baker in Walking Tall.
In what seems like an entirely different movie, Paul Rudd plays Cactus Bill, a crooked doctor trying to get back to the United States with his daughter. Oh, and Cactus Bill hangs around with a pedophile doctor (Justin Theroux, saddled with a goofy wig). While this indeed feels like another movie, it’s also terrible.
Skarsgard runs around a lot looking all helpless, while the usually ever-reliable Rudd resorts to lots of gum-chewing and a big, meaty mustache with chops to look tough. (God dammit, I hate that!) Theroux relies far too heavily on the word “Babe!” to distinguish his character in what amounts to his worst role to date. It’s not easy to make the likes of Rudd and Theroux look bad—and Jones makes them look awful.
The future setting looks like a cheap Blade Runner knock-off; the dialogue is deplorable; and, to repeat, Rudd and Theroux look terrible. That’s a cinematic crime.
Mute is currently streaming on Netflix.