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Mute

Director:  Duncan Jones
Year Released:  2018
Rating:  1.0

Bartender Leo (Alexander Skarsgård), who was in a boating accident as a kid and left unable to speak, falls in love with waitress Naadirah (Seyneb Saleh), who has a very troublesome personal life and eventually goes missing, so he goes out looking for her - running parallel to this is a storyline involving black market surgeon (and single father) Cactus (Paul Rudd), his entanglement with mobsters and his "friendship" with fellow doctor Duck (Justin Theroux), whose behavior towards young women should remind American viewers of a certain Larry Nassar. I understand this was a pet project for director Jones - son of the legendary David Bowie - but the final result is an absolute mess: there are a lot of good ideas in there, but nothing is fully synthesized, and there's a massive tonal clash between the bleak Skarsgård narrative and the 'quirky' Rudd one, so it skips back and forth, uncomfortably, between misery and what feels like a weak stab at black comedy. Having a main character unable to communicate doesn't typically work on a cinematic level, so when Leo spends all of his time and energy chasing after a broken woman, it might have helped to understand his thought-process. Jones and co-screenwriter Michael Robert Johnson valiantly try to tie it together, but it's just so strained, baby.

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