I love Netflix! You all love Netflix too, right? Because in between the usual crap they give us some very decent entertainment, particularly their Netflix Originals and homemade series. Talking about Stranger Things for example. Oh my, that was exciting. And from what I hear a 3rd season is on its way. And then there are the Netflix Original movies. Hmmm. Most of them not even really produced by Netflix but bought up from Hollywood’s scrapheap. I guess the two movies I wanna talk about today are of that category.
But let’s go and see for ourselves …
Berlin. Forty years from today. A roiling city of immigrants, where East crashes against West in a science-fiction Casablanca. Leo Beiler (Skarsgard), a mute bartender has one reason and one reason only for living here, and she’s disappeared. But when Leo’s search takes him deeper into the city’s underbelly, an odd pair of American surgeons (led by Rudd) seem to be the only recurring clue, and Leo can’t tell if they can help, or who he should fear most.
Yaaaah, we all loved loved loved Moon, didn’t we? A film which catapulted Duncan Jones right into stardom as movie director. I beg to differ, as for me it was mucb more about Sam Rockwell’s tour de force to keep this quasi one-person-play alive for the whole runtime of the movie. Still a mighty fine flick.
I haven’t watched Source Code (please forgive my ignorance) and I found Warcraft rather underwhelming. Not as bad as it could’ve been but not quite as good as it should’ve been. So I guess Duncan Jones’s career is on a steady downward spiral of doom, and has reached its nadir with Mute.
Don’t get me wrong, Mute has all it takes to become a nice scifi crime drama. But Jones made so little of it. Skarsgard was wasted as a mute with nothing to say, Saleh as the disappeared love interest packs more punch and character into her character than necessary and let’s Skarsgard look even more bland. How you can make even a mute person be a lifely, interesting protagonist was shown to us just recently by Sally Spencer in The Shape of Water. So Paul Rudd was actually wearing the weight of the whole movie on his shoulders. And he did it in quite a formidable way.
It didn’t help the move along tho, did it?
Neither did the very cliché’d Blade Runner-esque production. It was pretty, alright. But what for?
The reason, as much too often lately, was again a bad screenplay. Sorry, Duncan Jones, you fuked this one up greatly. Didn’t you see that the way you wrote the script it would make an confused mess of a shitty flick? We only noticed that Mute was about the mute’s frantic search for his disappeared gf, like, 10 minutes after she was gone. That’s some bad storytelling right there. Until then we thought she was on the toilet and he was worried about why she doesn’t come back. And we still asked ourselves why they shot so many establishing scenes and if the movie shouldn’t get on by introducing us to the story anytime soon.
Once we got the plot in its full extend, which wasn’t much to begin with, it was already much too late for Mute to make any positive impression on us.
CONCLUSION: Fukn bad flick. It’s exactly the shit we should expect from Netflix.
A biologist’s husband disappears. She puts her name forward for an expedition into an environmental disaster zone, but does not find what she’s expecting. The expedition team is made up of the biologist, an anthropologist, a psychologist, a surveyor, and a linguist.
Alex Garland is another one of those thinking man’s directors. I kinda enjoyed his Ex Machina movie for its interesting premise and great realisation. Also it introduced Alicia Vikander, Domhnall Gleeson and Oscar Isaacs to us and catapulted them into instant stardom. And Annihilation’s IMDb score of 7.1 places it in a whole different league than Duncan Jones’s Mute.
Also the cast with Natalie Portman and Jennifer Jason Leigh and the inevitable Oscar Isaacs was a statement that this ain’t a cheapo B-flick but grand scifi spectacle of the finest caliber.
And there was a lot of stuff presseed into the runtime of 115 minutes. That’s probably why the IMDb plot synopsis was so very short and gave nothing away about the plot: It was confusing and straight at the same time, exciting on one hand but oh so boring on the other.
Annihilation wasn’t a great film. Despite its very effect- and colourful photography and some good acting it left us kinda disappointed. The plot schlepped along like the exploring women, weighed down by psychological problems and self-destroying tendencies. It was no joy to watch, and a bit too obsessed with its own mastery. Really really boring. 😦 Too bad.
CONCLUSION: Annihilation is a very effective movie! It got hubby and me talking. Probably longer than about any other movie we’ve seen lately. And much longer than it deserved to be talked about. All in all it reminded us too much on those scifi movies from the Eastern Bloc during the cold war, like Stalker and Solaris. Remember how overburdened with hidden meaning and sloooow and drawn out and booooring they were? Ya, so was Annihilation.
I didn’t wanna add YouTube reviews this time, but these three are really reflecting my own thoughts quite well:
Some spoilers …