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Mudbound (2017)

Directed by Dee Rees

Based on the novel Mudbound by Hillary Jordan

Screenplay by Dee Rees, Virgil Williams

Starring: Garrett Hedlund, Carey Mulligan, Jason Clarke, Jonathan Banks, Rob Morgan, Mary J. Blige, Jason Mitchell

Two men (Hedlund, Mitchell) from different walks of life have returned home after fighting in World War II. Now they’re fighting to overcome the racism around them as they seek to build new lives for themselves.

Hillary Jordan wrote her debut novel, Mudbound, in 2008. In 2017 this novel came to the big screen, adapted by Dee Rees (Pariah) and Virgil Williams. Rees also directed the film. The cast of the movie includes Garrett Hedlund (Four Brothers), Carey Mulligan (The Great Gatsby), Jason Clarke (Zero Dark Thirty), and Jonathan Banks (The Commuter). Rob Morgan (Wetlands), Mary J. Blige (Rock of Ages), and Jason Mitchell (Straight Outta Compton) also star in this one.

Dee Rees and Virgil Williams certainly dug deep on this one. This is one of those films that seems to live in a world of honest answers and harsh realities. The story takes place in a setting that is both visually and emotionally unsettling at times. The writing does a nice job of weaving these two separate lives into one common experience. The film also addresses a number of social issues inherent to the setting. This is a powerful story but it doesn’t have any redeeming moments. While this is not uncommon, this time it seems to leave the whole movie feeling unfinished. This is a good story, but not a great one.

The cast certainly had their hands full with this one. The emotional demands from every role were intense. Garrett Hedlund and Jason Mitchell do a great job leading the way in this one. Their roles are incredibly different but also have some common threads. Their chemistry throughout the film is solid. Carey Mulligan also does a great job with her role in this one. Jason Clarke, Jonathan Banks, Mary J. Blige, and Rob Morgan all do good work in this one as well. Overall, the cast does good work with some tough material.

This movie creates a unique and depressing version of rural Mississippi through the costuming, sets, and locations. The visuals are strong and the production succeeds in all the right ways. The score and the editing also do their part nicely. This is a tough film and not for everyone. The story is dark and often sad, so be prepared if you check this one out. This is a unique period piece and fans of the stars might want to check it out. There are some very rough moments, so be prepared. I give this one 3.7 out of 5 stars.

Rating: R

Running Time: 134 Minutes


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