Ask any real fan of science fiction, of Bradbury and Asimov and Heinlein, to list their favorite underrated films of the last ten years and, if they are worth their salt, the indie darling Moon starring the inimitable Sam Rockwell will land somewhere in their top five. Written and directed by Duncan Jones, son of legendary rocker David Bowie, Moon is one of those unique movies that slips under the radar for being too odd and personal to appeal to a large audience but has a fiercely loyal fanbase that will continue to duct tape their friends to a sofa and force them to watch, a la A Clockwork Orange. Jones followed it with the equally underappreciated Source Code and then went full blockbuster status with Warcraft which failed to impress critics and audiences outside of China. However, hope sprang anew in the hearts of all sci-fi junkies when it was announced that Jones was returning to his indie roots with a spiritual sequel to Moon, simply titled Mute.
Today a synopsis and first look photos were released.
“Set in the near-future, Leo (Alexander Skarsgård) is a bartender living in the pulsing city of Berlin. Because of a childhood accident, Leo lost the ability to speak and the only good thing in his life is his beautiful girlfriend Naadirah (Seyneb Saleh). When she vanishes without a trace, Leo’s search for her takes him deep into the city’s seedy underbelly. A pair of wise-cracking American surgeons (Paul Rudd and Justin Theroux) are the only recurring clue and Leo is forced to take on this teeming underworld in order to find his love.
“The Netflix original film is directed by Duncan Jones and written by Jones and Michael Robert Johnson. Stuart Fenegan serves as producer and Charles J.D. Schissel and Trevor Beattie serve as executive producers. The film will launch in all territories where Netflix is available in 2017.”
Although it is disappointing it isn’t getting a theatrical release it’s another indication of the sea change that has taken place in the film and television landscape. With box offices almost entirely dominated by big budget franchises and more dramatic or unique fare largely ignored, Netflix and its ilk will continue to become the destination for A-List actors and talent. If Mute can find the kind of runaway success that shows like Stranger Things experienced we may see a trend of passion projects produced away from larger studios. Odds are good that given the amount of creative freedom Netflix is known to allow and without the constraints of a 200+ million dollar budget, Duncan Jones and company might set the new standard for direct-to-streaming film quality.