Director: Dee Rees
Cast: Carey Mulligan, Jason Clarke, Jason Mitchell, Mary J. Blige, Rob Morgan, Garrett Hedlund
Country of Origin: USA 2017 132 mins.
Released by Curzon Artificial Eye
Writer-director Dee Rees impressive adaptation of Hillary Jordan's novel exposes racial tensions in the Jim Crow South of the 1940s as it weaves a tale of two families, white farmers, the McAllans and the Jacksons, black sharecroppers who lease land from the McAllans.
31-year-old Laura Mulligan (Carey Mulligan) dreads spinsterhood and accepts Henry McAllan's (Jason Clarke) marriage proposal eventhough she's attracted to his charismatic brother Jamie (Garrett Hedlund). Laura, intelligent and independent minded submits to her assumed duties as a wife and with her two daughters the family move to the Mississippi Delta with Pappy McAllan (Jonathan Banks) at a time when Hap Jackson (Rob Morgan) and his wife Florence (Mary J. Blige) struggle to make a living from sharecropping. Laura finds it increasingly difficult to keep faith in her husbands dream of a better life as the family are faced with the realities of life in the Delta. When Jamie McAllan and the Jackson's war hero eldest son, Ronsel (Jason Mitchell) return after World War II they find that nothing has changed. Racial prejudice, bigotry, hatred and a divided society dominate the landscape.
'Mudbound' is intelligent, emotional, elegant storytelling that hits the head and the heart with impressive performances throughout. Carey Mulligan is centre piece to this story but it all holds together so well that it would be trite to place one performance above the other. Beautifully shot by Rachael Morrison, the sky reflecting the oppression of the land, it's epic cinema and the bigotry, intolerance and brutality of the time as portrayed by the racist bigot Pappy McAllan offers a clear message to our times. This is masterful, epic cinema.