MUTE (2018), a sci-fi noir set in a future Berlin, tells the story of a mute man living in a future Berlin. When his girlfriend disappears, he goes on a mission through the city’s seedy underworld to find her. This movie seems to be widely hated but I found it surprisingly fun.
Leo, the mute (played by Alexander Skarsgård), can’t speak due to a childhood accident and despite living in a city where that problem could be corrected, he refuses to undergo surgery because he was raised in an Amish or similar community. When his girlfriend disappears, he sets out to find her, eventually putting him up against a pimp, the crime boss who runs the bar where he works, and two Army surgeons who’d served in New Kabul together, one of whom has gone AWOL to avoid going back to the front.
The surgeons, Cactus Bill and Duck, played by Paul Rudd and Justin Theroux, steal the show. They appear to be modeled directly on Hawkeye Pierce and Trapper John from MASH (the movie, not the TV show), if Trapper John was a violent psychopath and Hawkeye was a pedophile. Leo bashes his way across Berlin’s underworld, bringing him on a collision course with Cactus Bill.
Thematically, the story is about the humanizing influence of love in a city that has dehumanized its residents, while the plot is basically part mystery and part race for Leo to save his girlfriend and gain vengeance before his enemy disappears forever. The world building is terrific, worthy of BLADE RUNNER.
Overall, the movie is a bit convoluted and poorly stitched with plenty of errant scenes that either go over the top or nowhere, but overall I got a real kick out of it. It’s a solid sci-fi noir with great performances and plenty of futuristic eye candy.