Mute is a neon-noir futuristic detective story in which we follow mute bartender Leo on a desperate search through the gritty underbelly of an almost dystopian Berlin for his missing girlfriend Naadirah.
Throw in all kinds of criminal underworld types and random characters and you have the story.
This a movie that primarily works on ambience and atmosphere and it is ultimately saved from being truly rubbish by the grace of having a cast that is good at their jobs.
Especially Alexander Skarsgard does a great job portraying Leo, although no one is doing a bad acting job.
It’s a mash of colorful characters, all with their own drive, vices and motivatons that cross paths. Of course, all seem to have one thing in common in the end: mute bartender Leo. As these things go.
While all the neon might be reminiscent of sci-fi films and series, such as the Bladerunner ones or even Altered Carbon, this is a completely separate story in its own right with only the future tech, bright lights and setting in common.
I feel that the sci-fi element is there more for aesthetic purposes rather than anything else. This story could have been set in the present day or even a few decades in the past. It might even have been better in a retro setting.
If you were to take away the visual presentation of the movie, it would probably not be worth it, though, as the pacing isn’t all that. It’s predictable in most places and often feels forced. As mentioned, the performances are fine, but the actors aren’t given a good plot to work with and it shows.
What I did like was how they used both German and English equally in the movie. The switch between languages was well done and at no point annoying.
The costume designer also deserves a shot-out, because some of the costumes were really stunning and I feel that every character was dressed well for their particular part.
Regardless of all my objections, if you’re a fan of dystopian futures, you may still enjoy this. But you’ll need to be able to put up with the mediocrity of the story itself.
Netflix has better sci-fi offerings, although I will admit that this is far from the worst thing you can find there.