Netflix’s Mudbound Bogged Down By Bad Acting

Noah Pingul, Staff Writer

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Mudbound, a book that is a staple for junior year reading at Seattle Prep, has now been made into an award winning Netflix movie. Set in the Mississippi Delta after World War Two, the book and movie follow multiple perspectives within two families. One family are the white landlords who moved to a farm that they had recently bought. The main perspectives of the family are Laura McAllen and Jamie McAllen. Jamie is the little brother to Henry McAllen, and Henry is the husband to Laura. They all live with their grandfather Pappy and their two kids, Amanda Leigh and Isabella. The other family is a black tenant farming, the Jacksons family who work for their new landlords. The main perspectives in this family the audience gets to see are Hap Jackson, his wife Florence, and their son Ronsel.

The movie stayed very close to the book in plot and dialogue, which is something most movie adaptations of books struggle with. This is especially evident when there is so much internal dialogue which is how the book was mostly written. Most of the major plot points were overlooked or changed which is good, but some of the more important moments seemed to be kind of glazed over.

The movie as a whole is stayed true to the book, but it was very unexciting, and it does not evoke much of any emotion. For only a scene or two does it feel like something important is happening, leaving a kind of dull feeling to the rest of the film. I did not feel like there was much of a build up to the climax of the film, it felt sudden

However, the movie was unable to capture the excitement and the tension of the book. I never felt during the movie any excitement or worry for the characters. It was often hard to care about most of the main characters and what happened to them. Nothing in the movie felt like it was really important to the final outcome of the story, like all of the scenes with Vera’s character.

The actor’s portrayals of the characters were for the most part underwhelming. Jason Mitchell’s portrayal of Ronsel was particularly uninspiring. Ronsel is supposed to be a charismatic character that draws attention, and is deeply conflicted. However, Mitchell’s portrayal is forgettable, and he seems more confused than conflicted.

Carey Mulligan’s performance was underwhelming. Mulligan portrayed Laura McAllen who is supposed to hate every aspect of the farm, but in the movie, it seems like she did not really care after they had moved in.

On the other hand, Garrett Hedlund’s played the role of Jamie McAllen, an ex-World War Two bomber who is haunted by the war. He moves to Mississippi to live on his brother’s farm. Hedlund’s portrayed a very realistic and believable was veteran with PTSD, he added another level than the typical drunk brother role.   

If I had to rate this movie I would give it a B-. The production was well done, it was edited beautifully, and they stayed very true to the source material. Unfortunately, in some key roles were poor, and the direction did not portray a lot of the underlying themes in few of the more significant scenes. The movie was good, but I would not watch it again on my own.


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