Mudbound reviews

User avatar
flipp525
Laureate
Posts: 5705
Joined: Thu Jan 09, 2003 7:44 am

Re: Mudbound reviews

Postby flipp525 » Sun Dec 03, 2017 3:13 pm

I can totally see that hype translating into pre-season buzz for Blige, Tee. But now that people can actually see the performance for themselves, I’m really not getting how it’s being cited (now as a runner-up for LAFCA). It’s serviceable work but is now moving into overhyped territory. It’s not like a Harry Styles nomination was ever more than a think-piece on Vox or whatever. A vote for Blige now seems like a “vote by intertia” — blogger fantasy becoming fact.

I guess I really am resisting a nomination for her for Mudbound. It just seems unnecessary. There are a wealth of minority performances (as you pointed out below) if voters are really looking to combat #OscarsSoWhite.

Frankly, I was much more impressed by the man who played her husband in the film, Ron Morgan.
"The mantle of spinsterhood was definitely in her shoulders. She was twenty five and looked it."

-Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Mister Tee
Laureate
Posts: 6190
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 2:57 pm
Location: NYC
Contact:

Re: Mudbound reviews

Postby Mister Tee » Sun Dec 03, 2017 12:47 pm

flipp525 wrote:I’m sort of baffled by the awards talk for Mary J. Blige. I mean, she’s perfectly fine: steely, determined, resolute, noble, etc. But I didn’t see much on display that was nomination-worthy. And actually I thought all of the other principals (Mulligan, Mitchell, Clarke, Hedlund in career-best work) offered stronger award showcases.


I haven't seen the movie yet, but it struck me Mary J. Blige got the bloggers excited for the same reason Harry Styles' appearance in Dunkirk did: fame. With maybe a touch of No-More-Oscars-So-Whte mixed in. (Though, oddly, supporting actress has the best mix of minority representation of any category this year, with Spencer, Haddish and Chau all seemingly more legit candidates than Blige.)

User avatar
flipp525
Laureate
Posts: 5705
Joined: Thu Jan 09, 2003 7:44 am

Re: Mudbound reviews

Postby flipp525 » Sun Dec 03, 2017 12:05 pm

This is a gorgeously shot movie, well constructed and nicely acted throughout. Yes, it’s novelistic roots are very apparent (and I agree with BJ that some of the voiceovers are not exactly doing a lot of work. Mary J. Blige’s is even repeated for some reason), but I was sufficiently engaged in the story to want to see it through.

I’m sort of baffled by the awards talk for Mary J. Blige. I mean, she’s perfectly fine: steely, determined, resolute, noble, etc. But I didn’t see much on display that was nomination-worthy. And actually I thought all of the other principals (Mulligan, Mitchell, Clarke, Hedlund in career-best work) offered stronger award showcases.
"The mantle of spinsterhood was definitely in her shoulders. She was twenty five and looked it."



-Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Sabin
Laureate
Posts: 7139
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2003 12:52 am
Contact:

Re: Mudbound reviews

Postby Sabin » Sat Dec 02, 2017 7:08 am

Shortly after tax reform passed, I decided to do something slightly more cheerful and watch 'Mudbound.' During the first ten minutes, I found myself thinking "This is going to be a depressing slog." Ninety more minutes in, I thought it was a depressing slog, but I was invested and wanted to know where it was going. After it finishes setting up its world through voice-over and stunning visuals, 'Mudbound' settles into its relationships between its principle characters in engaging, if not unexpected ways.

BJ is right. Everybody has their own view of race dictated by their gender, military experiences, etc, and its depiction of three dimensional characters certainly owes tremendous credit to Rachel Morrison's gorgeous cinematography as well as actors who have read the book and clearly understand who these people are. I think Dee Rees and her co-writer Virgil Williams do successfully transplant Hillary Jordan's book into a cinematic experience, and they understand that while racism and hate is taught it's also bred through economic impotence. Henry (Jason Clarke, who is increasingly becoming one of my favorite characters actors) is duped when he buys this farm and feels powerless. So, he acts like a man in the only way he knows how to reassert himself. He doesn't come across as a terrible man, but one detail says it all: the combination to his safe is the date of the Confederate victory at Richmond.

I'll give it one more credit as well. It's rare that a film will start at the end of the story and loop back around, and I will have forgotten by the time we return. That absolutely happened with 'Mudbound.' But it's a terribly bleak climax and everything that follows isn't really capable of steering into a different tone, no matter how much Mary J. Blige's credit song wants to. There's a lot to appreciate, but I can't say I was totally won over. Rachel Morrison's cinematography is the MVP. Although don't totally understand how she can win over Roger Deakins' work for 'Blade Runner 2049,' she does some very innovative use of depth of focus that give this historical film and an immediacy. If used correctly, depth of focus can be used to compensate for limited production design. There's one handheld (I believe) shot in particular that says with me of Clark, Hedlund, and Mulligan carrying a coffin. She starts at the back with Mulligan and moves up the line, grabbing each actor in tight focus as she goes. I'm probably not describing it well, but this is just an example of the strong work that fills the film.
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver

Sabin
Laureate
Posts: 7139
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2003 12:52 am
Contact:

Re: Mudbound reviews

Postby Sabin » Fri Nov 03, 2017 2:05 pm

The Original BJ wrote
She blends into the ensemble perfectly well -- I honestly didn't realize/remember it was her until halfway through the movie -- but she doesn't have among the showiest parts in the movie. I doubt she contends for major award nominations. (Except maybe in the Original Song category, for the end credits track.)

Copy.
I really don't have a handle on any of the supporting races this year.
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver

The Original BJ
Emeritus
Posts: 4015
Joined: Mon Apr 28, 2003 8:49 pm

Re: Mudbound reviews

Postby The Original BJ » Fri Nov 03, 2017 1:04 pm

Sabin wrote:
The Original BJ wrote
The Blige/Mulligan relationship seems to stem directly from the way both women are treated by their husbands, as if the limitations imposed on both because of gender allow them to bridge the racial divide, and the Hedlund/Mitchell bond of course grows out of the fact that they're the only two veterans in town, and thus understand each other in ways that the members of their own family (and race) cannot.

How is Mary J. Blige in the film?


She blends into the ensemble perfectly well -- I honestly didn't realize/remember it was her until halfway through the movie -- but she doesn't have among the showiest parts in the movie. I doubt she contends for major award nominations. (Except maybe in the Original Song category, for the end credits track.)

Sabin
Laureate
Posts: 7139
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2003 12:52 am
Contact:

Re: Mudbound reviews

Postby Sabin » Fri Nov 03, 2017 12:36 pm

The Original BJ wrote
The Blige/Mulligan relationship seems to stem directly from the way both women are treated by their husbands, as if the limitations imposed on both because of gender allow them to bridge the racial divide, and the Hedlund/Mitchell bond of course grows out of the fact that they're the only two veterans in town, and thus understand each other in ways that the members of their own family (and race) cannot.

How is Mary J. Blige in the film?
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver

The Original BJ
Emeritus
Posts: 4015
Joined: Mon Apr 28, 2003 8:49 pm

Mudbound reviews

Postby The Original BJ » Wed Oct 11, 2017 12:27 pm

Mudbound is clearly an adaptation of a novel, because you can see a lot of the seams that often come with such transfers. For starters, there is way too much voiceover -- my "show not tell" flag was on high alert almost immediately, and I questioned if some of the information revealed during voiceover even added very much at all. I also think there's a lot of plot elements stuffed into one movie -- again, something that can often plague literary adaptations trying to cram too much into two hours. (At one point, there's a voiceover mention about a character who died, and I thought -- WHO? I was supposed to be caring about THAT character?) As a result, I can't say that I thought the movie had the strongest narrative through-line from beginning to end.

All of that said, I still think there is much to like about Mudbound. The character dynamics, in particular, are quite compelling, as the members of the two central families (one black, one white) connect with each other in surprising ways. The Blige/Mulligan relationship seems to stem directly from the way both women are treated by their husbands, as if the limitations imposed on both because of gender allow them to bridge the racial divide, and the Hedlund/Mitchell bond of course grows out of the fact that they're the only two veterans in town, and thus understand each other in ways that the members of their own family (and race) cannot.

I also thought the movie did a pretty impressive job of delineating the very specific attitude each character has toward the opposite race. The four major white characters (Mulligan, Clarke, Hedlund, and Banks) each treat the characters of color in a different way, and the three major black characters (Mitchell, Morgan, and Blige) respond to whiteness in similarly unique fashion. That's a pretty nuanced approach to race relations for one movie, and also one that's specifically attuned to the 1940s era in which the film is set -- an era in which blacks were gaining in autonomy, but one in which the battles of the civil rights era were still a ways off.

All of this builds to a climax that's obviously moving, with a message that is certainly bleak -- despite the best efforts of the more well-meaning white characters, hate is a powerful force, and to some extent the better among us will always be trying to reverse that damage. But there is also hope that we can overcome as well -- the last shot is clearly designed to be a tear-jerker, and I can't deny it totally put me away.

Netflix really should be trying to push this into the Adapted Screenplay category. (And by all accounts, they are -- Netflix, along with Amazon and Focus -- are the studios that have most been on top of early screenings and campaign events this year, so it's clear they want to play with the big boys in the Oscar game.) But something has to fill those screenplay slots that isn't Call Me By Your Name, and this strikes me as the kind of thoughtful period drama that could very well place, assuming voters just don't decide to blackball Netflix completely.


Return to “2017”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests