The long, laborious wait for a first look at Duncan Jones’ Mute has finally come to an end. The director’s fourth feature and first Netflix film will begin streaming on Feb. 23, but you can take a look at its futuristic world in the trailer embedded above.
Mute is set in Berlin, circa 2052, and follows a silent bartender named Leo (Alexander Skarsgård) who is sucked into some kind of criminal underground in pursuit of his missing, blue-haired girlfriend Naadirah (Seyneb Saleh). After she disappears, he sets off to find her, putting him on a collision course with a pair of mysterious men: A surgeon named Cactus Jack (Paul Rudd) and a man named Duck Teddington (Justin Theroux). That’s about all we know about Mute, plot-wise, although we do know that it’s connected, at least philosophically, with his first feature Moon, which starred Sam Rockwell in a fantastic performance as an astronaut unraveling a mystery on the dark side of the moon.
To look at the film, it’s clear that inspiration was drawn from Blade Runner in terms of art direction, as the futuristic Berlin is sheathed in a similar “nighttime fog and neon” aesthetic as Ridley Scott’s seminal sci-fi masterpiece. But there’s sure to be a lot of Jones’ own style at play here as well, as his previous films (especially Moon and Source Code) have had a vested interest in the dehumanizing aspects of science and technology in the future, much as you would expect from a Black Mirror episode. We’re expecting a poignant blend of sci-fi and film noir.
In fact, Mute has been seen by fans as the ultimate passion project of Duncan Jones’ career to date, because the original script was written more than 15 years ago. According to the director himself on Twitter, it was meant to be his first movie, but it never got off the ground. Sam Rockwell even auditioned for the film, which led to his casting as the lead in Moon. Ultimately, we have Netflix to thank for the fact that we’re getting to see Mute at all, as they decided to take a chance on Jones after the relative disappointment of Warcraft, his first big-budget, would-be Hollywood tentpole underperformed at the domestic box office.
So some of you may be aware that I have previously called @Mute my “Don Quixote.” I did this, as much like Terry Gillian’s fabled film of that name, it seemed everything was against Mute ever being made. In fact, here’s an early draft… from 2003! pic.twitter.com/wW3VwfLRRR— Duncan Jones (@ManMadeMoon) January 19, 2018
Mute hits Netflix in the U.S. in just over three weeks.