I only had one Oscar homework assignment! I prolly could have even watched this before the nominations, but I have trouble focusing on movies watched at home. And Netflix still hadn’t managed to break into the features awards race. I figured I’d just wait until the announcement, and low and behold Mudbound came in with a couple above the line nominations.
I had only the vaguest idea of what this movie was about, but the first thing I had wrong was the setting. I assumed it was somewhere Civil War-ish, but it’s actually WWII-ish. The story focuses on a white family and a black family that live on a farm property and how they deal with the war and its fallout. Yeah it sounds kinda blah, but it was an absolutely compelling film.
Again, watching a movie at home, there are distractions. Cats. Stardust. Candy Crush. Among other things. So I maybe wasn’t giving this movie the full and complete attention it deserved. Then we got to the third act. So intense and extreme, it jolted me to full and rapt attention, haunting me thru the next day. Totally get why the screenplay nomination.
On the acting side, while (an unrecognizable) Mary J Blige got the nomination, my eyes were mostly on Garret Hedlund. Okay so they’ve been on him ever since Four Brothers, but he’s never really had material to sink his teeth into like this one. From the main characters, he was one of the two I was most invested in. The other was played by Jason Mitchell. Their fraught and unlikely friendship was the most captivating storyline for me. I also enjoyed seeing Jonathan Banks break way worse than bad as the true villain of the film.
I really wish this could have gotten a proper big screen run, so I could have fully taken it all in (esp that beautiful cinematography). I think Netflix prolly did it a disservice by snatching it up, but thankfully it was able to break into the awards race and get some of the attention it deserves.