For me, the most memorable scene in Mute was a few-second long callback to director Duncan Jones’ debut, a marvelous little movie called Moon, starring Sam Rockwell, that you should track down immediately if you haven’t seen it yet. Apparently, Mute is intended to be the second entry in a very loose trilogy, an approach that Netflix seems to be very keen on at the moment (as evidenced by The Cloverfield Paradox along with Mute). Come to think of it, we saw this same thing happen with Split not so long ago, where two movies really have nothing to do with one another except that they happen in the same “shared universe”, with that link often seeming to constitute a big reveal.
I have asked before and, thanks to Mute, have to ask again: why is it becoming a thing to tie movies together in this way? What is the point, when Mute is a totally separate story not at all influenced by the events in Moon (and vice versa)? Why does it matter that these movies occur in the same world at the same time if the events of one film do not impact the other in any way? Why are we even mentioning this link and including a scene with Rockwell in Mute (other than the fact that he is so hot right now)? Are people being drawn to Mute because it’s related to Moon? Did anyone choose to watch Mute because of that link who otherwise would not have? Is Rockwell such a big box office draw that his inclusion got Mute off the ground? I have a hard time believing this one little throwaway scene helped Mute and yet, why else even bother?
Really, the only benefit of Rockwell’s inclusion was that it made this review easier to write, because Mute is otherwise forgettable even as you are watching it. Visually, it is for the most part a shameless ripoff of Blade Runner only it’s bereft of any philosophical discussions about anything meaningful, with the only takeway being that parents should not make friends with pedophiles, a point which, much like the movie itself, did not really need to be made.