Mudbound is the kind of film that doesn’t just come along every day.
What sets it apart from racial films like Birth of a Nation or 12 Years A Slave is that it gets its message through within the beautiful subtleties of great filmmaking.
Missing are the racial slurs that have dogged these types of films, and brutal torture sequences. The violence has meaning and words have a purpose.
This is a film that isn’t afraid to show its’ characters at their most conflicted. There are no archetypes here: no good vs. evil. Mudbound’s men and women exist in the grey areas of history.
The film is about two men of different races returning home from World War II, and their efforts trying to make sense of the world they come home to.
The Mississippi setting is fitting, and it’s the steady direction from relative newcomer Dee Rees that anchors this Netflix original.
Jason Clarke is good as usual, and Carey Mulligan shows superior depth here.
But one surprise breakout is Garrett Hedlund, who shows some real strength here. After some misfires with Tron: Legacy and Pan, he shows he’s an actor deserving of leading man status.
Jason Mitchell, beginning a burgeoning career, would have banned a Supporting Actor nomination at the Oscars if not for a crowded year, and Mary J. Blige (yes, the musician) is a revelation in her nominated supporting role.
This is a character-driven drama you need to seek out on the streaming platform now, because it’s also one of my favourites of the year.