Arriving months after Blade Runner 2049—and, for that matter, taking place in 2052, presenting a cyberpunk future that comes about just a little too late—Mute feels a bit like an also-ran. It doesn’t help that the film sees Alexander Skarsgård in the exceedingly Gosling-esque role of a handsome blonde guy who’s tough, brooding, and rare to speak. Mute takes the archetype to its extreme, though, in that Skarsgård’s Leo is, well, mute. And it boasts a pretty impressive pedigree otherwise, too.
Mute is the latest sci-fi passion project of Duncan Jones, who deservedly won a lot of fans with Moon before losing a few to the unfortunate cash grab of Warcraft. And if that’s not enough to get your attention, the always-enjoyable Paul Rudd co-stars alongside The Leftovers‘ standout Justin Theroux, who’s here allowed to eschew his leading man looks for some deserved character work.
Sadly, Mute‘s trailer often feels hacked together, making the project again seem like a desperate knock-off of 2049. But if you can look past its fairly shoddy editing, the preview offers some hope that it’s in some ways more the true Blade Runner successor—a neon-lit neo-noir that’s not so profoundly beautiful nor needlessly profound.
We’ll see whether Mute can hit that sweet spot when it hits Netflix on February 23.