Well, I think Netflix may have just officially entered the Academy Awards race with MUDBOUND. This movie is incredible. Punches you in the stomach multiple times for one hell of an emotional wallop. It is also one of the best films on race and class relations I’ve seen in the past decade, along with Detroit earlier this year. The film is a 2 hour and 15 minute slow burn yet it is still extremely entertaining (the fact that I couldn’t take my eyes away from it sitting on my couch at home says something) and it gives its audience a well-earned and incredible final act. This movie is required viewing I think by any movie lover. And you really don’t have any excuse not to see it. You can sit on your lazy ass and watch it at home. Don’t have Netflix? Borrow it from a friend weirdo.
MUDBOUND tells several stories but at the heart of all of it is two families, one white and one black, both living in the same region in the south. The husband of the white family has a younger brother off fighting in the sky in World War II, and the black family has a son that is fighting on the ground in tanks in World War II. Once the boys come home, the white soldier coming back with extreme PTSD, they strike up a unlikely friendship, much to the chagrin of the racist town folks and the racist father of the white soldier. The white husband also had a wife that may or may not have feelings for the younger brother as well. And the black soldier holds a secret from the war, something that would not be tolerated at all in the town that they live in.
This movie has perfect plot progression/storytelling/etc. You think the movie is about the husband and wife white family, then the movie switches on you and you think it is about the black family, and then it switches again and it is the relationship between the white younger brother and the black son, and then it switches again to the town and white father dealing with that relationship, all while being consistent and solid with tone and structure. It’s perfectly plotted and the transitions are masterful. The best part of the movie are obviously the conversations and friendship between the white younger brother and the black son, talking about their war experiences, and the shit they are having to go through when they come back from war. It’s very heartfelt, and comes to a conclusion you might not see coming.
It deals with race, class, bigotry, and family with a strong iron fist, not sugar coating anything for the sake of the audience. At the center of all the conflicts and hatred is a good message that doesn’t try and tack you on the head a thousand times with a hammer to try and get its point across. The acting here is also amazing, but if I had to pinpoint anyone, it would be Garrett Hedlund as the white younger brother soldier. This is his most shining role to date and I would be disappointed if he didn’t get a best supporting nomination out of this. Everyone else is fantastic here too, including Jason Clarke, Carey Mulligan, Jason Mitchell, and even Jonathan Banks, but Hedlund shines every scene he is in. You feel his PTSD, his love for his friend, his heartache. Every time he is on screen is an experience.
The end of the film is what truly got me. Didn’t see what was coming and it hit me in the…how do people say it nowadays…the feels? It’s a fantastic ending, culminated in a near perfect picture that will definitely be re watched in the future. That is what I liked about this film. It isn’t too unwatchable and doesn’t play with your emotions with over the top torture and bloodshed that films like Detroit and 12 Years A Slave do. While it still doesn’t sugarcoat anything, it is a film that transcends that uneasiness with a scene like that and structurally puts it into the film where you aren’t wincing and can’t wait for the scene to be over (even though there is one part like that, it actually doesn’t show too much, which I appreciated).
Conclusion: It’s simple, if you have Netflix or can get access to it, Mudbound is required viewing. It is one of the years best films and has to be seen to be believed how near perfect it is. The test for me with watching a film at home is if I’m distracted with other things on the internet or something else happening around the house. I just held my kid, he slept the entire time, and the 2 hours and 15 minutes completely blew by me. It is a experience that has to be seen to be believed, and one of the most important films of 2017. Steam it now damn it!