Netflix has been streaming original content on its platform for a while.
However, it seems Netflix had yet to show its full potential when it comes to the drama genre – until “Mudbound.”
The film tells the story of two families – one black, the Jacksons, and one white, the McAllans, during World War II. The McAllans own a farm and the Jacksons work and live there.
This brings up the question of land and property. One aspect of the American dream is that owning land is something to strive for. The Jackson family wants to accomplish this. The patriarch, Hap, is very determined to work as hard as possible in order to buy his family some land. However, a leg injury prevents him from working, and his wife Florence decides to become the McAllans’ nanny in order to help her husband achieve his dream.
The families are also connected through war. Jamie McAllan, the uncle of the family, is sent to the U.S. Air Force, and Ronsel Jackson, Hap’s oldest son, operates a tank. The two survive the war, but upon arriving home, both exhibit symptoms of PTSD. The two bond over their conditions and begin to hang out – something that Pappy McAllan, a fervent racist, hates.
Pappy believes the Jacksons should be property – which relates back the overarching theme of ownorship.
The movie employs a dark, earthy color palette, which complements the themes of land and property.
The cinematography is breathtakingly authentic to the story and cinematographer Rachel Morrison deserves her Oscar nomination. She is the first woman to be nominated in that category.
The matriarch of the McAllan family, Laura, believes that she is in a loveless marriage and stuck on the farm. Florence feels she is stuck with taking care of the McAllans. Ronsel feels defined by his race.
It is as if every character is stuck in the mud or stuck to the property.
The film’s narrative voice shifts among Laura, her husband Henry, Florence and Hap every few minutes, giving the audience the opportunity to hear their thoughts. Each person wants a better life and no matter how hard they try, they will always be trapped by stereotypes and prejudice.
Their monotone voices, paired with southern drawls, are heavy with unrecognizable sadness.
Netflix has consistently provided a platform for original, drama-filled content that is dynamic and thought-provoking. The company has distributed fantastic TV shows and movies that have created buzz and drawn attention – “Mudbound “deserves the same.
It is a film everyone needs to see.