REVIEW: If there are few ‘must see’ movies with a believable Black American experience at its centre then Mudbound tops that list. Set just after World War 2, it is an honest look at everything that was, and still is, wrong about White America, but without the over-the-top indignation or pretence that change or hope is somewhere on the horizon.
Director Dee Rees does a sterling job in breathing life and lending voice into its few characters and weaving the narrative around them, the immediacy of their hopes and aspirations battling against a relentlessly grim and pointless present.
No cardboard characters or caricatures were hurt or created during this production. Jonathan Banks (Pappy McAllan) is a more than believable full-blooded hateful racist redneck and Jason Mitchell (as Ronsel Jackson) the returning Black war veteran desperately clinging to the faintest possibility of a brighter tomorrow in amongst grim, poverty inducing share-cropping of his parent’s and family’s existence.
Despite finding a friend, comrade and confident in fellow war returnee Garett Hedlund (as Jamie McAllan), it’s this relationship and subsequent revelations that brings the events in this slow-burning narrative to a head and sad more bitter than sweet conclusion.
This film boasts a pretty cool cast including Carey Mullighan, Rob Morgan and RnB diva Mary J.Blige. With so few meaningful ‘Black people related’ tales coming out of Hollywood, the NETFLIX vehicle should make a fair bit on mileage on Mudbound and not without reason.