Netflix has finally released a trailer for Duncan Jones’ movie Mute, a futuristic noir mystery that the director has described as a “spiritual sequel” to his 2009 cult hit Moon. The streaming service picked up the rights to Jones’ project back in 2016 but only announced its February premiere date a couple weeks ago, shortly after Jones leaked the news himself. Netflix also has Terminator Genisys writer Laeta Kalogridis’ television series adaptation of Richard K. Morgan’s cyberpunk mystery novel Altered Carbon set to premiere this Friday – a series that, like Mute, aims to appeal to those who can’t get enough of bleak, neon-infused, nightmarish visions of the future.
Mute takes place forty years from now, in a version of Berlin that the movie’s official synopsis describes as a city where “East crashes against West in a science-fiction Casablanca”. Jones shot the film on location in Germany with his Moon cinematographer Gary Shaw, in an effort to create a Blade Runner inspired setting that is more plausible than might seem obvious at a passing glance. The results are certainly visualizing striking, as the trailer for the movie illustrates.
Alexander Skarsgård, who’s coming off multiple award wins for his performance as an abusive husband in Big Little Lies season 1, is the star of Mute and plays a mute bartender named Leo Beiler in Jones’ film. When his blue haired partner Naadirah (German actress Seyneb Saleh) goes missing, Leo sets out out to find her, taking him into Berlin’s seedy underbelly in the process. Along the way, Leo crosses paths with some rather oddball and otherwise shady characters who may or may not be trying to help him out.
Paul Rudd and The Leftovers‘ Justin Theroux costar in Mute as Cactus Bill and Duck Teddington, a pair of fellows who are as shifty and strange as their name would suggest. Rudd’s facial hair is almost a character in and of itself, while Theroux looks to have a meatier role to sink his teeth into here than he’s had on the big screen for some time now (his memorable cameo as the “Master Codebreaker” from Star Wars: The Last Jedi aside). Those two and Skarsgård appear to have the most substantial parts to play in Mute based on the trailer, and their respective roles seem to play well to their strengths as actors.
Jones has been working on the Mute script since at least 2003, so the movie itself is clearly a passion project for the filmmaker. While Jones has yet to recapture the critical acclaim that Moon bought him, his second feature Source Code demonstrated that he has a knack for combining high concept sci-fi with genre conventions, which bodes well for his efforts on Mute. Jones is also coming off the disappointment of Warcraft, making this project an opportunity for him to get back to his roots in more personal and smaller-scale storytelling.
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