Mute – A Movie Review

mute movie poster

Mute is a sequel of sorts to Moon, which you may remember I enjoyed quite a bit. Ducan Jones wrote and directed both, so it makes sense that they exist in a shared reality.

I have to admit that I did not enjoy Mute nearly as much as Moon. Mute has a run-time of two hours and six minutes, and because it felt every bit of that, I found myself drifting away. The movie is very slow to start and features Alexander Skarsgård in the beginning, which also contributed to my disinterest. In Mute, he plays the protagonist, and a mute hero at that. Skarsgård is a fine actor, particularly when he plays a villain, but he just can’t carry a movie as the star in my opinion.

The plot features a man living in Berlin in the near future. He grew up disconnected from technology and suffered a terrible accident in his  youth, which led to his muteness. He’s now a bartender, and when his troubled girlfriend goes missing, he desperately tries to find her. As he searches, he becomes mired in all kinds of villainy.

Like I said, the first half of this movie is rather slow. However, when Paul Rudd and Justin Theroux begin to dominate the second half of the film, it really picks up. In fact, I thoroughly enjoyed the last thirty minutes. Rudd and Theroux play former military medics, men who seem decent enough, but as the movie progresses, their depravity becomes more and more apparent. I enjoyed the end so much because I’ve never seen Rudd play someone quite as edgy as “Cactus Bill.” He fully committed to his role, and he mesmerized me much like Sam Rockwell did in Moon. In fact, had Mute featured only Rudd and Theroux, it would have been far more captivating (though it obviously would have needed a different title).

That’s really the main issue I have with Mute–it’s almost two different movies in one. One movie features a silent man looking for his missing girlfriend, the other features two men who are very likable but also really quite awful. Eventually their worlds collide, but only because they must.

If you want to see Paul Rudd do something drastically different from his usual fare, I highly recommend Mute–his charisma is no less potent even as a morally ambiguous miscreant. However, if you’re just looking for something to stream on Netflix, I wouldn’t settle on Mute. Pick Moon, instead.

 

Ant-Man: A Movie Review

I’ve got to be honest, I think Ant-Man may have more heart than any other Marvel movie to date.  It touts itself as a heist movie, and it is, but this movie is mostly about fathers and daughters.  You’ve all seen the trailers by now – Scott Lang is recruited by Hank Pym to be the new Ant-Man.  Lang is a recently released master burglar, and he wants nothing more than to reconnect with his young daughter.  Hank Pym has a daughter, Hope, in her mid-thirties, who wants to don the Ant-Man suit, but Pym can’t bring himself to put her in harm’s way due to a tragedy in the past. With Hank’s secret Pym Particles about to be outed, both men must look deep within to save the world from chaos.

Ant-Man found a perfect balance of comedy and action.  I wouldn’t call it a comedy, yet I found myself chuckling, even laughing, throughout.  There is action galore, and the special effects are mesmerizing, especially when Ant-Man enters the world of miniature.  Yet, for me, the best parts of the movie arrived when Michael Douglas (Pym) finally revealed the fate of Evangeline Lilly’s (Hope) mother.  Also, every time Paul Rudd (Lang) interacted with this daughter, it just brought a smile to my face.  These well-acted, subtle, emotionally authentic moments don’t happen often in Marvel movies, and they were played perfectly.

Rudd is that kind of actor who can make any character likable, so I thought he was perfect for Scott Lang.  And Michael Douglas, man, I forgot what a great actor he is.  There’s no doubt that this would not have been the same movie without him.  He definitely brought a gravitas to Hank Pym that was very much needed.  Don’t get me wrong, he had some great one-liners as well!  Lilly also found the sweet spot of her dynamic with both Douglas and Rudd.  These three brought real emotional depth and fun to a movie that could have become all spectacle.  I won’t spoil anything, but I’m particularly excited to see where Lilly goes in the Marvel movie universe from here.

And Lang’s crew, led by Michael Pena, killed it.  Pena was an absolute riot.  He stole every scene he entered.  He’s been getting a lot of accolades for his acting in this movie, and he deserves all of it.

Truthfully, when I heard they were making Ant-Man, I cringed.  But then I heard Edgar Wright would direct, and I saw infinite possibilities.  But then Wright left, and I, like everyone else, figured Ant-Man would sink.  I’m here to tell you, director Peyton Reed took the existing script and nailed it.  This movie exceeded my expectations in every way.

Because of the fun, the father-daughter dynamics, the comedy, the special effects, the action, and the acting, I have to consider Ant-Man one of my favorite Marvel movies thus far.