An after note: I wrote this on the day of the title’s date. I’m not sure why it didn’t post originally, but since I’m not at a point where I feel like sharing these things yet, a lack of feedback for this post didn’t seem out of place. It was only when I came back to post today that anything seemed out of place. So here it is…
Sometimes it’s tough to have a whinge about something in writing. If I was complaining in conversation, I would happily name and shame people all over the place, but I think writing something critical about people you don’t know can be a shitty thing to do if they aren’t hurting anyone.
But then sometimes I just want to complain about things.
I was reading about a song that I like and I came across an interview where the artist spoke about the meaning of the song. The song was based on their reaction to reading an article by someone I had never heard of. The article was about the role of men in teaching younger men. It’s an idea I find interesting because I think the only way to deal with toxic masculinity is by engaging with and looking at male role models. The author turned out to be a famous and critically acclaimed guy who deals with these kind of themes. The thing about it is the original interview never said what the name of the article was. And that’s fine, but what’s not fine is that the same exact thing is said in loads of interviews with the artist without anyone ever finding out the name of the article. I think what I find so crappy about it is the lack of curiosity and research and I think it really gives you a look behind the curtain of interviewing. The writers have to say shit is interesting and cool but it’s obviously just information they got from a press release or that they stole from another interview. Fuck that, man. It’s either laziness or falseness and both are bullshit.
It feels unfair to segue into talking about Mute now, but at the same time it makes sense. Mute has good characters, a good cast, a good universe, a good idea and then just a weak story. I think sometimes films are written like that and they put all their attention into those first parts and then forget a story. Mute should be really cool, but it’s not doing the hard work. The characters are deadly. Leo, played by Alexander Skarsgård, is the mute of the title and he’s a classic sci fi/ comic book cool protagonist. The fact that he can’t talk is bad ass. It always is in these type of stories. Cactus, played by Paul Rudd, is great and the way he develops is fun and uses Paul Rudd’s likeability and charisma really well. Justin Theroux is in there as a weirdo too and I generally think he’s great. Robert Sheehan and Dominic Monaghan are floating around in the kind of way that really shows you that Duncan Jones can get people to do weird little roles. The universe is cool. It’s a futuristic Berlin. There’s Cold War tones and American military in there. It looks great.
But then the story is only ok. It’s there, but it’s nothing incredible. In truth, it almost wants to be Guy Ritchie caper. Leo is following clues and then there’s a twist that’s been hiding right in front of the viewer the whole time. It’s just not as smart as it thinks it is. The film is actually saved by the fact that reviews for it are terrible, because it’s not as bad as the critics say. It’s just not great and kinda lacking in substance.