Duncan Jones’s filmmaking career got off to a fantastic start with 2009’s Moon and 2011’s Source Code, two ingenious sci-fi films that marked him as one of Hollywood’s most promising new genre talents. As such small-scale hits often do, they led him to bigger things — namely, Warcraft, the big-budget 2016 adaptation of the popular MMORPG that, although far from a disaster, failed to capture the imagination of those not already heavily invested in the game. Having tried his hand at blockbuster-scaled endeavors, Jones is now returning to his creative roots with Mute, an original futuristic thriller that’s set to debut exclusively on Netflix in late February. And in advance of that bow, it has debuted its intriguing first trailer.
In Mute, Alexander Skarsgård plays Leo, a mute bartender in Berlin circa 2048 — a neon-lit metropolis full of flying cars and glowing billboard advertisements. Leo finds himself in trouble when, after protecting his girlfriend (Seyneb Saleh) from thugs, she disappears and his unhappy adversaries come looking for him. That sets him on a rescue mission that leads to Cactus Bill (Paul Rudd) and Duck Teddington (Justin Theroux), two American army surgeons who seem to have been hired to take care of Leo on behalf of their criminal boss. It’s a setup for yet another Blade Runner-inspired take on the future, complete with a neo-noir soul that’s in tune with the melancholy air of Ridley Scott’s seminal 1982 classic — as well as Jones’s own particular brand of off-kilter humor and dreamy romanticism.
Given that Jones has long discussed Mute as a passion project he’s been aiming to make for more than a decade, hopes are high for the director’s latest, which by the looks of the above trailer may be one of the year’s early surprises. The film premieres Feb. 23 on Netflix.
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