Film Review: Mudbound
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The latest original film from Netflix creates a new benchmark for measuring streaming content. Dee Rees is an upfront director. Her steady hand is all-but-visible in every frame of Mudbound. To attempt to name a more "directed" film this year would be a folly, as Rees does not leave anything to chance. Each structural move, every cinematic trick to tell the audience something, they all feel part of a careful, detailed plan of how to tell the story. However, the film has far more complexity in the characters it explores than the narrative itself. As synopses go, Mudbound's opening dynamic is simple enough: two families, one white and one black, are co-existing in World War Two-era Mississippi, grabbing pre-Civil Rights dynamics and thrusting them into the spotlight. The contrast, then, is the key to the film's, and Rees', success. From the start, the two brothers at the head of the white McAllan family strike an obvious but freshly realised distinction, made new by Rees. Jamie, given a charismatic Southern magnetism by Garrett Hedlund, is the young bachelor defined by his romanticism; one is reminded by him of classic matinée idols, with their beautiful eyes and tussled looks.
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