Movie Review: Mudbound (2017)

This movie is a fairly unique case. Mainly because it’s a Netflix original movie that somehow has gotten multiple Oscar nominations. Not saying that it shouldn’t have gotten the nominations, just saying that it’s very interesting. Anyway, let’s just get into the review.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Mudbound”.

Mississippi, the 1940s. We follow the McAllans and the Jacksons, two families who live in close proximity to each other in a farmland. And throughout the movie’s runtime we see them have to deal with everything from the struggle of farming, to racism, to adjusting to life after being in a war. What we have here is a very rich and layered plot. Yes, it’s a fairly lengthy movie, and it does move at a fairly slow pace. But there’s enough payoffs and beautiful nuances to the plot here to make it all feel rewarding. The plot here is emotional, engaging, layered, and at times even disturbing. It’s absolutely fantastic.

The characters here are kind of like the plot in that they are quite layered and interesting. I will however not go too in-depth with each and every character as I feel that they’re best left experienced rather than explained… also, I don’t want to make this post too long and rambly. So here’s just quick overviews of the two central families and their most essential members (essential for the plot, that is). First we have the McAllans, featuring the likes of Carey Mulligan, Jason Clarke, Garrett Hedlund, and Jonathan Banks. They’re a white family who’s lived a relatively easy life until they move out to the Mississippi delta, where they have to start their new farm life. And they all get some really interesting development/moments throughout. Then we have the Jacksons, featuring Mary J. Blige, Jason Mitchell, and Rob Morgan. They’re a black family that kind of has to live with the McAllans, which of course leads to some solid drama throughout. And the Jacksons are an interesting bunch of characters. I will now also say that all the actors in this movie are running on all cylinders, there’s no weak link within the cast, they are all absolutely fantastic in the movie.

The score for the movie was composed by Tamar-Kali, and had I not done that research I would’ve just assumed that the score was composed by Nick Cave & Warren Ellis. The score here is at times reminiscent of the score from “The Assassination of Jesse James” in that it takes a dark, emotionally charged, and even kind of eerie. But it still has a very unique sound and it’s just overall great. And before you ask, the song “Mighty River” by Mary J. Blige is fucking great.

Based on a novel by Hillary Jordan, “Mudbound” was directed by Dee Rees who I think did a great job. Her direction is sweeping and confident, at times feeling like a lot of old school dramas while still feeling new and unique. I also want to talk about Rachel Morrison’s cinematography for a second, because it is fucking amazing. There were a good amount of shots in this movie that made my jaw drop. What’s also cool about it is that none of the shots felt like a “just there to be pretty” type of shot, all of the shots had a purpose while also being pure eye candy. Speaking of images, there’s some disturbing imagery at a couple points in this movie… just thought I’d give you that warning in case you’re a bit sensitive… I don’t judge.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 96% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 85/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,5/10. As previously mentioned, this movie has been nominated for multiple Oscars. Four of them actually, in the categories of Best supporting actress (Blige), Best adapted screenplay, Best cinematography, and Best original song.

“Mudbound” is a big and sweeping drama that shows that Netflix isn’t playing around. It has a fantastic plot, great characters, fantastic performances, great music, and fantastic direction/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Mudbound” is a 9,89/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Mudbound” is now completed.

I got nothing to put here. This isn’t the kind of movie you joke about afterwards.

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4 thoughts on “Movie Review: Mudbound (2017)

  1. Sounds like a good one. But I don’t have Netflix, so may never get to see it.
    But I do see a lot of real mud though, so often feel mudbound. 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

  2. I had a lot of issues with this movie. The two biggest being they made Germany postwar seem like it was some safe-haven for African-American’s. it wasn’t. And Blige’s character wearing designer sunglasses throughout the film as a sharecropper. No. That being said, I really enjoyed Hedlund & Mitchell’s performances – and yes Rachel Morrison’s cinematography is so well worth that nomination. 🙂

  3. Sounds like a near excellent Cinematic experience!! I wasn’t a fan of Dee Rees’ Pariah (2011), not bad though, just felt it was pretty average fare. But Bessie (2015) was a really good television movie. And now Mudbound (2017) with 4 Oscar nominations sounds close to perfection. Plus your interesting review, made me wanna see this even more!!

  4. Nice one Markus, great work.
    Personally I didn’t enjoy this one. Yes it looked great, yes there was some sentiment that flows through it and the pivotal moment near the end was tense. But as for the rest it left me feeling, well, nothing really. Probably derived from that big blank Jason Clarke sized hole that was there through the entire film (so wooden. so weak. so nothing!).
    Carey Mulligan was good for what she did, didn’t see enough of Mary J (and it would have been improved if we saw things more from her perspective). Jonathan Banks was despicable throughout (which I suppose was the idea!).
    Anyways, I’m glad I have watched it but not glad enough to watch this again.

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