Mute ★★★

Mute was conceived as a graphic novel before it became a film. And it probably should have stayed as such, as this feels like a literal translation that emphasises how much the story doesn’t work on screen. (Quite apart from the things that take away from the story itself, like its cop-out of an ending.)

At the same time, the literal approach turns what would have been wry nods to Blade Runner on the page into a straight rip-off of that film’s trademark visual elements: the origami animals, the translucent raincoat, let alone the general look of a neon future pasted over the grime and graffiti of old. (There are other references, too, like Paul Rudd’s Cactus as a parallel universe Hawkeye from M*A*S*H, and there are likely more I missed.)

One can’t doubt the passion involved here on Duncan Jones’ part, and it’s really much better digested thinking of it as a straight representation of its source, not unlike Zack Snyder’s ambitious but doomed-to-fail Watchmen. Still, much like Jones’ previous flop Warcraft, there are significant issues in translating that passion and enthusiasm into a great film, not merely an okay one.

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