Cert: 15 Runtime: 126 mins Director: Duncan Jones Cast: Alexander Skarsgård, Paul Rudd, Justin Theroux, Seyneb Saleh, Noel Clarke and Robert Kazinski
He doesn’t need words
Duncan Jones has to one of the most captivating film-makers today. After his roaring hit with Moon, he has created worlds and challenged his audiences. On the later most audiences don’t really grasp his style or stories. Mute is his latest film, that has gone direct to Netflix. So what is Mute all about you say? The story is set in Berlin forty years from today and centers on Leo Beiler (Alexander Skarsgård), a mute bartender as he searches for his missing girlfriend, Naadirah (Seyneb Saleh) the love of his life, his salvation, through dark streets, frenzied plazas, and the full spectrum of the cities shadow-dwellers. As Leo’s search takes him deeper into the city’s underbelly he finds himself mixed up with Cactus Bill (Paul Rudd) and Duck (Justin Theroux), a pair of irreverent US army surgeons on a mission all their own, and Leo can’t tell if they can help, or who he should fear most.
Duncan Jones has a great vision for Mute, it seems to strike a homage to Blade Runner but stands on its own two feet. Throughout the film now and then there are some great long panning shots that show the setting of the film extremely well. It’s visually stunning to watch and the added grime and neon lighting submerges you into the world.
The cinematography of the film as well is very good, the film can look very dark and dire but then in a split second change into a wonderful amount of vibrant colour. Very nice contrast and makes the world of the film look very much lived in as if all of the surrounding buildings have got history to them. The films story is pretty straight forward, with layered secrets slowly unravelling throughout the run time. It’s a good noir if you ask me, the dark undertones are hard to view in some occasions. The subject matter also may put some viewers off their cereal. For me it enhanced Mute, Jones is showing what the world could end up as and respect his vision. But the pacing is rather stagnant during the run-time, and you click out of the film for a few minutes.
This is the issue with Netflix, it can be hard to concentrate. You have so many distractions around you, it’s not a true cinematic experience. The cast is an interesting bunch to be honest and all of them for the most part are good with what they are given to do. Obviously the standout is Alexander Skarsgård , who is very good as the mute bartender Leo, he is the heart beat of the film and he carries the film along well. His use of his body, eyes and expression really gives him life. The character itself doesn’t really have much of a story, but Skarsgård gives Leo life. Paul Rudd and Justin Theroux are both good in their respective weird roles that are extremely strange, but they do the best they can. Rudd would make a great villain upon watching Mute, Theroux was utterly terrifying and un-nerving for me. Mute is a very strange neon-noir, I understand why it’s not for everyone but for me I enjoyed it.
Cert: 12A Runtime: 123 mins Director: Duncan Jones Cast: Travis Fimmel, Toby Kebbel, Paula Patton, Ben Foster, Ben Schnetzer, Robert Kazinsky and Dominic Cooper
Is war the only answer?
Video game movies haven’t had the best start to life in the 21st century. Now we have the next attempt Warcraft! I’ve never played the games but I have researched it. My main pull for watching the film is Duncan Jones! He really is a visionary director Moon and Source Code are worthy of any ones time. So what is Warcraft about? The once-peaceful realm of Azeroth is on the brink of destruction. Its human inhabitants face invasion from marauding orc warriors, themselves having fled their own dying world of Draenor through a gateway known as the Dark Portal. With both humans and orcs facing annihilation, human warrior Anduin Lothar (Travis Fimmel) and orc leader Durotan (Toby Kebbell) find themselves headed for a collision course, an epic clash of two races that will determine the fate of both worlds.
What elevates Warcraft from a typical fantasy film is that it offers something refreshing with its plot: the blurred sides of good and evil. Just like the game you will find yourself rooting for either race – the humans or the orcs, based on what morals you personally believe in. Of course notwithstanding that there is a main antagonist, these two battling races are essentially just beings fighting for their survival whom the evils of war find a way to corrupt. It is clear how much love Duncan Jones has for this universe and his team’s visual effects do an incredible job in translating this love on-screen: from the primitive textures of the orc world to the glowing whoosh of magical spells. This attention-to-detail is impressive especially with the orcs: from their freakishly huge hands, hulky robust physiques, up to the rings attached to their tusks. Warcraft is easily one of this year’s biggest films!
At times though, the source material may be just too rich that it becomes a disadvantage in effectively telling its story. For the first instalment, Jones wrestles with so many characters, locations and subplots which result in fast-paced story-telling, offering no breathing room and ample time to fully- develop most of the characters.While there are a lot of scenes with exposition and minor characters are also used as plot-devices to get us emotionally invested, they all seem not enough as they are merely short backstories and fragments of characterizations. Hence, by the third act when some of these characters are lost, the emotional punch is weaker than how it should have been. Warcraft ultimately feels like a sequel where audiences are expected to do their homework on the world’s history rather than a franchise-starter that effectively builds up characters for the next film. This movie would have been better served if it was thirty minutes longer. With all the things it aspires to be in such a short run time, the end product comes out as a boisterous and flashy piece.
Cert: 12 a Runtime: 93 mins Director: Duncan Jones Cast: Jake Gyllenhall, Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farmiga, Jeffrey Wright
It’s the same train, but it’s different
When the trailer for Source Code came out I was rather intrigued with what Duncan Jones had created this time. His first film Moon was an amazing film, he really brought a new dynamic edge to the Sci-Fi genre. Source Code throws us in the deep end as Captain Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) wakes up on a train travelling to Chicago, only to find he is in someone else’s body, but before he can begin to unravel this mystery the train is bombed. However as he regains consciousness he discovers he is actually embedded in a government trial, as officer Goodwin (Vera Farmiga) informs him he must use the ‘Source Code’ simulation to repeatedly relive the last moments of the man on the trains life, so he can discover the identity of the bomber. Unable to recall the details of how he arrived in the Source Code program, and with the Source Code team urging him to repeat the dangerous process, Colter must rush to prevent a second deadly attack on the city.Whilst using the Source Code, Colter relives an 8 minute period on the train over and over, but each time it is different as he tries different tactics to find out who is the bomber. This might sound repetitive and boring, but instead the mystery is built up intensely.
Duncan Jones has not disappointed me with this film, it isn’t as good of a film as Moon. But boy-hoowdy it is intense viewing. I do love the thought of very limited scenery in a film as the actors voice is the action, his expression and movement creates the intensity of the film. Jake Gyllenhaal is back on form in Source Code, after a few ok films he is back. He carries the whole film, as the mystery of the Source Code is unravelled. The train sequence does feel repetitive but something different happens in every journey, which makes the film exciting.The idea of Source Code is not as complex as Inception so it doesn’t make you to confused. But I do advise you to focus on every single detail. It is an utterly different concept to sci-fi, and I would urge anybody to watch this film.