The film ‘Mudbound’ is a new addition to Netflix’s ever expanding plethora of film and TV shows! The film stars Garret Hedlund, Carey Mulligan, Jason Clarke and Jason Mitchell. Set in the late 1940s in the heart of Mississippi, the film examines the racial tensions in the South through two families one black and one white, living on a farm.
The film covers all the themes of an epic – as it explores war, examines racial tensions in the South and shows the harsh reality of living on a farm. What makes the film stand out though is director Dee Rees’ focus on the interior lives of the characters. This makes for a deeper and richer film. It would have been easy for Rees to be bogged down by the film’s themes. It would have taken away from the characters.
‘Mudbound’ is an ensemble film. Its web of interlocking stories, give audiences a rare insight into the characters and the time period. The struggles of Laura (Carey Mulligan) the wife of the farm owner Henry (Jason Clarke), is a woman who married her husband more out of necessity then love and is forced to move to the farm against her will. Whilst the Jackson family, whose family have worked the farm for generations are forced to endure the hardships of the farm and the racism of the time.
‘Mudbound’ is a rarity in the epic genre as it doesn’t explore racism in a forced or overly clichéd way, unlike films such as ‘The Butler’. It is shown through the farm owner Henry McAllen, a man who isn’t outwardly racist but instead is a product of his time. The films racist undercurrent which Rees has masterfully created slowly builds throughout the film.
The impact of the war is explored through Jamie (Garret Hedlund) and Ronsel (Jason Mitchell) both sons from the two families. Both men struggle with shell shock and struggle to fit into society, especially Ronsel who continues to hear racist slurs even after returning home from the war.
At the heart of the film, ‘Mudbound’ explores the constraints of both families. Each character has a different constraint- either bound to family, bound to responsibility or bound to a racist society.
‘Mudbound’ comes at a high recommendation!