Mudbound

Mudbound

It’s a movie that’s much bigger than its premise—and much wilder, and more fraught, than the style Rees relies on to depict it. The cinematography is quite something, sophisticatedly rich, with sensitivity for the full range of the characters’ skin tones, and of the tones in their environment, without either coming off as too glossy or too gritty.

How those images function relative to the plot is another matter. Rees’s style is as subtle and tactile as it is plain in its mission to simply tell a good story. That’s a worthy cause, but Mudbound, though satisfying, is a little hampered by the emphasis on good storytelling at the expense of really taking advantage of all the fury, fear, exhaustion, disgust, and melancholy central to the narrative. Sometimes, it’s simply a matter of details. A more curious movie might have given us a greater sense of the work of sharecropping and its role as a physical and spiritual trial, rather than just (for the black characters) a given condition of history. Sometimes, watching Mudbound, it’s hard to escape the sense that the history—rather than the filmmaking—is doing most of the work.

More.

K. Austin liked this review