Mudbound (2017) Review
Two men return home from World War II to work on a farm in rural Mississippi, where they struggle to deal with racism and adjusting to life after war.
Director: Dee Rees
Writer: Virgil Williams/Dee Rees
Producer: Carl Effenson
Mudbound (2017) is a very carefully executed movie that knows when the is the right time to cut into the audience. The first time the word N***** is used by a white man to describe another family almost stabbed me through the heart as you see a privileged white family surrounded by wealth and doing everything his way. It is when things start to go wrong, he abuses his power and as a viewer every time Henry McAllan (Jason Clarke) seems to get annoyed I just thought ‘oh no’ and felt so sorry for the Jacksons as you knew what was coming their way. The worst part about this film was that although it was set in WW2 the film felt like it wasn’t even set that long ago which makes the scenarios and what happens in the movie so horrific.
The story starts very similar for both the Jacksons and the McAllans with voice overs as we get an insight into each family and how they ended up where they are. This was a really interesting element as both females in the story were kept rather quiet but because of this voice over, you knew exactly what Florence Jackson (Mary J. Blige) and Laura McAllan (Carey Mulligan) were thinking throughout. It is their stories as well. How mothers deal with their boys going into war and how the colour of their skin changes how they are to act on the farms makes the line:
‘‘Then came the day that changed, forever’’
Laura McAllan is very different from any white person that the Jacksons have encountered before however, as she has good intentions and although she sees Florence as someone to employ to help around the house, she also has good will to show that she does care about the work that Florence does, something that Henry McAllan can’t bring himself to do due to the relationship with his father.
There is so many elements with this movie at home before the war Henry dealing with his father who is very old fashioned and even in WW2 his opinions felt so outdated. Laura meeting Henrys brother Jamie McAllan (Garrett Hedlund) and you can tell that there was a spark between the two. The fact that the conflict of race is present even though the Jacksons were on the farm first. All these elements build up to create a complex and patient movie that makes it really gripping to watch.
The acting in this movie was phenomenal from everyone and this is great credit to all the actors and director Dee Rees. Every single performance was flawless and combined with the costume design and the gritty production design. Made it so real it was actually scary. One of the best acted movies I have seen in a long time.
When we get to WW2 it is free of drama and it is such a welcomed change of style and it is made ever so much more refreshing that when we see soldiers, they are black. I felt like this was a bit of history that I have never seen on the Hollywood screen before and it was so refreshing and something I feel they have denied us of. Both the Jacksons and McAllans have a story in war with Ronsel Jackson (Jason Mitchell) fighting for his country on the ground and Jamie McAllan fighting in the sky. Luckily for both families both boys return home after clearly what feels an eternity for both of them. But here comes the problem. Ronsel is treated so well in Europe, as an equal that when he comes back to America and goes into the shop, he goes to leave out the front door and is furious when he is stopped and asked to leave out the back. It is this life that he has forgotten and doesn’t make him happy and it is only by sharing his experience with the now close friend Jamie that makes it more bearable.
The relationship between the two wat heroes, Jamie and Ronsel is a beautiful dynamic and is a friendship that is treasured throughout the film. Their friendship and Jamie doing the right thing by his is amazing to see and I felt really sorry for the pair of them towards the end of the movie where Ronsel is captured and tortured by the KKK. The despair you see in Jamie as he wants to help but is simply overpowered is horrible to watch and this gruesome scene is not one for the faint hearted. It is gut wrenching as it is heart-breaking.
The end of the movie is left so poetic as Jamie completes his arc and walks down the road away from the farm and the Jacksons get some sort tiny bit of peace.
Overall, this is a phenomenal film that educates people about the racial inequality towards war heroes and in every day life. This is a story that needs to be seen.
I rate this movie a rare: 5/5.