Director: Dee Rees
Starring: Garrett Hedlund, Carey Mulligan, Jason Clarke
Runtime: 2 Hours 14 Minutes
What It Is: Two men return home from World War II to work on a farm in rural Mississippi, where they struggle to deal with racism and adjusting to life after the war.
What We Think: Henry McAllan (Jason Clarke) marries Laura (Carey Mulligan) and purchases a farm in Mississippi on land worked by the Jackson family for generations. Hap Jackson’s (Rob Morgan) boy Ronsel (Jason Mitchell) goes off to World War II, where he fights at the front and is treated as a liberator by the Europeans he encounters. Jamie McAllan (Garrett Hedlund) fights in the same conflict and comes back a broken, drunken wreck of a man. But in mid-twentieth-century Mississippi, a broken, drunken wreck of a white man is more valuable than some black fella in a uniform, and Pappy (seriously, Pappy, because no stereotype is too great for this movie) McAllan (Jonathan Banks) makes damn sure everyone knows exactly his place in the world.
There has been so much praise heaped on Mudbound and this is definitely the kind of film that the Oscars love but apart from the last scene it was brutally slow and its reliance on narration to explain to us everything we are seeing was extremely tedious. The awfulness of the past is well-trod ground at this point. The only aspect of Mudbound that may render it worth watching is probably the work of Rob Morgan who played Hap magnificently. He seemed to hit the right mix of courage and fear as he balanced his pride and servility which he had to do to keep his family safe.
Our Grade: C, Overall it is serviceable but the time it takes to make it’s point really drags and I imagine this could be an issue for some audiences. If degradation and endless sadness is your thing then I recommend it.