Posted Nov 15 2017
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Mudbound - This Netflix Movie Rocks The Dour

Dir: Dee Rees

Starring Carey Mulligan, Jason Clarke, Garrett Hudland, Jonathan Banks, Jason Mitchell, Mary J Blige, Rob Morgan

Dee Rees’s movie is an unremitting multi-family drama set in the racially tense word of Mississippi sharecropping before and after WWII. Told via some beautifully written narration from a variety of characters and, therefore, points of view, our way into this world is, initially, the genteel Laura (Mulligan). Finding herself almost left on the shelf by the age of thirty, Laura latches onto to Henry McAllan (Clarke) but comes to realise her real attraction is to his dashing younger brother Jamie (Hedlund.) When Henry relocates the family to a worn down farm in the Mississippi delta, Laura comes to realise that married life is not the ideal she was expecting.

Here they are thrown together with their tenant farmer family, the Jacksons, headed by matriarch Florence (a standout Blige.) As WWII arrives to take men away, the families’ lives become more and more intertwined and when both Jamie and older Jackson son Ronsel (Mitchell) return home, now bonded by their harrowing wartime experiences, events draw inexorably to a tragic conclusion in a world in which black and white are still bitterly divided.

There’s a reason that Rees’ film is called Mudbound – everyone and every thing in this movie is covered, caked and indeed bound by the mud they strive to farm through, something that is brought on by a constant and almost Biblical rain that seeks to punish them and make their already difficult lives even harder. It is this atmosphere, undeniably powerful as it is, that lends the movie an oppressive tone of almost overwhelming dreariness. It’s strong, very moving at times but at other times as unrelenting as the rain that hammers down on all those involved.

(Special mention should be made of Jonathan Banks who, as the deeply racist Pappy, is outstandingly repugnant.)

 

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