About – On a farm in rural Mississippi, two neighbours work together for the sake of the farm. When Jamie (Garrett Heblund) & Ronsel (Jason Mitchell) return home from World War II, they struggle with the life they left behind.
Mudbound, a Netflix original directed by Dee Rees, taken from the same-titled novel by American author Hillary Jordan. Dee Rees is a name that will be winning awards in years to come. If Dee’s direction in her upcoming films are anything to go by in Mudbound then we are all in for a treat and in for some very visionary material.
Netflix have already established they will help distribute and fund films that need that extra help, from the likes of Okja and now Mudbound. As this is a Netflix original film, you can imagine the cast and performances being special.
Henry (Jason Clarke) and Laura McAllan (Carey Mulligan) buy a farm in Mississippi. Their neighbours Hap (Rob Morgan) and Florence (Mary J. Blige) are workers on the farm. They work together to make the farm a better place to work and live on. They try and work in harmony even though Pappy (Johnathan Banks) Henry’s father, is an old fashioned raciest. Jamie (Garrett Heblund) Henry’s brother and Ronsel (Jason Mitchell) Hap and Florence’s son, return from World War II. They create an unlikely friendship due to the colour of their skin, but also because of the unforeseen violence they have endured during the war. As the narrative continues the darkest and harshest moments involve Jamie and Ronsel, leaving you speechless and dumfounded.
The performances were second to none, especially from Garrett Heblund who made it that more personal and again that more realistic. He made us feel like we were in the same room as him. Of course, Carey Mulligan portrays Laura wonderfully, she highlights the struggles that women in the early 1940’s endured but also the determination to look after her family through hostile times.
The narrative for the majority of the film especially through act one and two concentrated on Henry and Laura’s story. However, as soon as Jamie and Ronsel are brought back to our screens we instantly forget about Henry, the families and the farm. This isn’t a criticism, it’s unbelievable storytelling that catch’s us by surprise. For the rest of the film, all we now care about is the friendship that these two have, the bloodshed stories they tell each other and remarkably the love they’ve gained from the war.
Mudbound has a unique element of that each main character talks to us like we are in the room. Obviously, not talking out loud but in their heads. This type of narrative is very unique, and depending on the film either works really well or not. However, in Mudbound it works brilliantly. As we get to have a more personal connection with each main character. As they’re talking to us individually, we can feel the concerns and worries of each person, which gives us a perfect insight into their lives and how they think.
The score wasn’t a huge dramatic piece of music, which in a sense, worked for the narrative. The music didn’t take us away from what we should be concentrating on. The long pauses and silences between scenes gives the film a lot of breathing space, which was helped by the establishing shots of the open fields on the farm. This gives us time to digest what has happened but also take in what was said.
Mudbound is a stunning original film by Netflix. It gives directors like Dee a chance to express their work by not getting criticised for doing something in a certain way. It’s done by them and for us. Mudbound has the hard-hitting truth as it is very reflective of the end of the Second World War. This isn’t just a story for entertainment but a story for us to remember the fallen and the struggles of returning soldiers. But also returning soldiers that had to face racism back home and the reoccurring nightmare of the violence they have seen.