D: Dee Rees

Netflix / Elevated / Joule (Carl Effenson, Sally Jo Effenson, Cassian Elwes, Charles King, Christopher Lemole, Kim Roth & Tim Zajaros)

US 🇺🇸 2017

134 mins


W: Virgil Williams & Dee Rees [based on the novel by Hillary Jordan]

DP: Rachel Morrison

Ed: Mako Kamitsuna

Mus: Tamar-Kali

Carey Mulligan (Laura McAllan), Jason Clarke (Henry McAllan), Garrett Hedlund (Jamie McAllan), Jason Mitchell (Ronsel Jackson), Mary J. Blige (Mary Jackson), Rob Morgan (Hap Jackson), Jonathan Banks (Pappy)

Based on the novel by Hillary Jordan, Mudbound tells the story of two families on neighbouring farms in 1940’s Mississippi.

The McAllans, a white family are new to the region, with a vile racist patriarch in their company.  Their neighbours are the Jacksons, a black family saving up to move on from the area.

Two members of the family form a friendship after their experiences in World War II leave them both suffering from PTSD, both managing in different ways but even their alliance isn’t enough to overcome hate.

The story here is deeply layered and I’m certain Hillary Jordan’s novel will make for an excellent read, and this adaptation certainly does the book justice.  It’s not always a pleasant watch, due to the subject matter, but that fact stands films which are more important than they are entertaining.

The ensemble cast are all excellent, with Jason Mitchell and Mary J. Blige clear standouts, but it’s also worth mentioning that both Jason Clarke and Garrett Hedlund deliver the best performances of their careers here too, as well as Jonathan Banks, whose evil, racist character has no redeeming qualities whatsoever.

Perhaps one criticism would be the length of the movie, but I really can’t see what could be cut from the running time to allow for this.

A powerful film that deserved a wide cinema release, rather than being harboured by Netflix for streaming services.  It just falls short of my top 10 movies of 2017, but is comfortably within the top 20.


Mary J. Blige in Mudbound
Mary J. Blige in Mudbound