A story steeped in racial tension.
Netflix is an entertainment industry BEHEMOTH. The streaming giant has revolutionized how we consume content and disrupted movie studio and TV network distribution models. At times, Netflix has been so far ahead of the curve that it feels like everybody else is playing catch up. But one area where Netflix still lags behind their movie studio competitors is their crop of prestige pictures. Although their TV series and documentaries have done well, the company is yet to take home any of the industry’s top prizes for feature films. When Netflix acquired Mudbound at Sundance this past January, the move was seen as a blatant attempt to bring home some award season trophies.
After Mudbound premiered to a standing ovation at Sundance, Netflix snatched up the film for $12.5 million (marking it as the largest deal to come out of Sundance). The company believes they have a winner on their hands and they’re giving Mudbound the Netflix version of an Oscar push. Mudbound is making the rounds on the festival circuit and the company is offering advance press screenings in the weeks leading up to November 17th, when it arrives on Netflix and in select theaters.
After going over Mudbound’s cast it’s no surprise that it just picked up a Gotham Jury Award for Best Ensemble Performance. The picture features Carey Mulligan, Garrett Hedlund, Mary J. Blige, Jason Clarke, Jonathan Banks, and Jason Mitchell (who is just electric in every role I see him in). Factor in the film’s socially relevant subject matter and era-specific costumes and production design and Mudbound has Oscar-bait written all over it. Take a look.
Mudbound’s director, Dee Rees, made a film in 2011 called Pariah that I still haven’t got around to watching. Now, after seeing her work on display in the trailer, I’m anxious to hunt down a copy (or a stream) ASAP. In just two-minutes, Mudbound’s trailer paints a haunting portrait of the Jim Crow-era south and captures the tension simmering beneath the surface of the two families at the heart of the story. As the pace of the editing sped up I found myself leaning in towards my monitor as if it could add an iota of new perspective. We can all lean back on our couches and take in every sumptuous detail Mudbound offers when it debuts on Netflix and in select theaters on November 17th.
Here is Mudbound’s official synopsis:
Set in the post-WWII South, Mudbound is an epic story of two families pitted against a barbaric social hierarchy and an unrelenting landscape as they simultaneously fight the battle at home and the battle abroad. The film is about friendship, unacknowledged heritage and the unending struggle for and against the land. Newly transplanted from the quiet civility of Memphis, the McAllan family is underprepared and overly hopeful for Henry’s (Jason Clarke) grandiose farming dreams. Laura (Carey Mulligan) struggles to keep the faith in her husband’s losing venture, meanwhile, for Hap (Rob Morgan) and Florence Jackson (Mary J. Blige), whose families have worked the land for generations, every day is a losing venture as they struggle bravely to build some small dream of their own. The war upends both families’ plans as their returning loved ones, Jamie (Garrett Hedlund) and Ronsel (Jason Mitchell) forge a fast, uneasy friendship that challenges them all.