Mudbound review by Bobby Blakey

We live in an interesting time for film where big releases are hitting Netflix as opposed to only theatrical releases. With the latest, Mudbound I was able to see this Netflix exclusive screening on the big screen like it should be seen. The film stars Carey Mulligan, Jason Clarke, Jason Mitchell, Mary J. Blige, Rob Morgan, Jonathan Banks and Garrett Hedlund, but does it offer up the powerful story that the film suggests or will it sink too deep in the mud to get out?

Mudbound follows an epic story of two families pitted against one another by a ruthless social hierarchy, yet bound together by the shared farmland of the Mississippi Delta. I wasn’t sure much about this film going in other than the cast so was hoping for something that pushed the boundaries of storytelling, but this was not what I was expected. There are a lot of hits and misses with the Netflix films so far, but I can see why this one was getting a bigger push. This is such a great and powerful film, filled with great performances and moments that are hard to watch. Director Dee Rees has crafted a film that is multilayered in a way that sucks you in and then punches you right in the face.  

The opening of the film was a bit off for me at first as it felt like it was giving too much away already, but then when it back tracks to lead up to this moment it is so much more powerful and showcases great storytelling. The story not only deals with the horrible topic of racism, but also the displacement and PTSD of soldiers. These elements are made more interesting by the time period and seeing what both of these soldiers went through and the complete difference once they are back home. Both Hedlund and Mitchell are fantastic here. They have great chemistry and offer up a wide range of emotions that will really get you in the heart in ways you won’t expect. The rest of the cast are all great as well with Jonathan Banks offering up a performance that will make you hate every fiber of his existence.

As the film moves along you kind of get the idea of what might happen and where some of it is headed, but the end result was so much more powerful and hard to watch than I had expected. When dealing with the touchy subject of racism people often try to tip toe around it, but here Rees takes the story all in which is necessary to really make this film more impactful. I was moved and tormented watching this film as it is a horrific reminder of a time that showcased behavior that should have never been and made all the sadder by the fact that it is just as relevant today on all accounts.

Check out Mudbound when it hits Netflix on November 17th.

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