Discuss Mute

I've always been consistently impressed with Netflix's M.O. of leaving control in the hands of the filmmakers. And while this has been very successful for their tv show output, it's hard to say the same of their films as they are repeatedly received poorly. Only about 4 or 5 have actually had a good reception so far. As such, I am also consistently impressed with Netflix's patience for continuing to allow filmmakers such control.

But the worry is: how long can this last? How much money can the company lose on films like Mute, War Machine, The Bad Batch, Death Note and Special Correspondents before they are forced to concede to the big Hollywood studio tradition themselves?

But this also suggests another worrying notion. Most of us film fans have always spat in the face of studio interference. But were the studios always right in the first place? Was some degree of control always necessary in order to ensure a cohesive and satisfying end product in this day and age? I like, many of you, certainly hope not. But the Netflix filmmakers need to step up their game in order to prove otherwise. They have been given a great gift and opportunity and they need to capitalize on this by making better films. Before it's too late and it's taken away. And even worse: the big, bad studios are proven right all along.

The nature of art is in the balance.

11 replies (on page 1 of 1)

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I think it has more to do with a lack of a theatrical release... These Netflix movies are conceived and created for the small screen; The ipad, the laptop and the 55" TV... It's obvious... When everyone from the director, cinematographer, art director and editor to the actors know that this will be seen on a small scale rather than cinematically it will change things, conciously or subconciously...

The thing is, compared to TV movies of the past they are incredibly successful in terms of aesthetics, breadth and probably even audiences...

The problem is commentators and audiences still try to compare Netflix to cinema... It can't measure up... It's still TV...

Also, there have been no Michael Bay Netflix movies yet... I'm serious... There is no big commercial director who has made a Netflix movie yet... It's all smaller, less experienced directors... Give Ridley Scott or James Cameron $100 million in Netflix money and see what you'll get... Even if it isn't Oscar material, it will be cinematic and most likely a hit... 😎

@Renovatio said:

Also, there have been no Michael Bay Netflix movies yet... I'm serious... There is no big commercial director who has made a Netflix movie yet... It's all smaller, less experienced directors... Give Ridley Scott or James Cameron $100 million in Netflix money and see what you'll get... Even if it isn't Oscar material, it will be cinematic and most likely a hit... 😎

Well, we do have Scorsese's The Irishman coming out soon. That could potentially be amazing considering Scorsese hasn't really had full control in ages. And maybe other directors will follow suit.

I think it has more to do with a lack of a theatrical release... These Netflix movies are conceived and created for the small screen; The ipad, the laptop and the 55" TV... It's obvious... When everyone from the director, cinematographer, art director and editor to the actors know that this will be seen on a small scale rather than cinematically it will change things, conciously or subconciously...

I haven't seen Mute yet but I think it does look pretty cinematic. Just as cinematic as Moon. I hope the reviews are wrong because I was looking forward to it. I really liked Moon and Source Code. But I wonder if what you say could really have such an effect on a director who flies so high with Moon that he falls so hard with Mute.

Maybe it's just that filmmakers need to learn to adapt to this new approach.

I think our sample size, so to speak, is still too small... Scoresese will be an interesting data-point with The Irishman, but no DiCaprio in the movie...

Mute is better than the average Sci-Fi (mostly due to the cyberpunk and noir elements), but falls far short of Moon or Source Code despite being very cinematic for the first half of the movie... It's a very idiosyncratic movie and very different from what we usually see from TV movies or even most indie movies...

@Renovatio said:

I think our sample size, so to speak, is still too small... Scoresese will be an interesting data-point with The Irishman, but no DiCaprio in the movie...

I've always thought that it was the time that DiCaprio made his entry into Scorsese's films that the quality dipped. Don't get me wrong, I still enjoy them. But I'd take DeNiro over Dicaprio any day. And his presence could signal a return to their heyday. Fingers crossed.

Mute is better than the average Sci-Fi (mostly due to the cyberpunk and noir elements), but falls far short of Moon or Source Code despite being very cinematic for the first half of the movie... It's a very idiosyncratic movie and very different from what we usually see from TV movies or even most indie movies...

Well, I like that it's different. And I love cybernoir. So maybe I'll like it.

I quite enjoyed Death Note and this.

@chilone said:

I quite enjoyed Death Note and this.

I sort of kind of enjoyed Death Note. Probably because of the 80's music. But it was a bad film. It rushed through the source material. I refuse to believe that Mute is as bad as the critics make out. 9% on RT? That does seem a bit silly.

@JustinJackFlash said:

@chilone said:

I quite enjoyed Death Note and this.

I sort of kind of enjoyed Death Note. Probably because of the 80's music. But it was a bad film. It rushed through the source material. I refuse to believe that Mute is as bad as the critics make out. 9% on RT? That does seem a bit silly.

Sorry but no. It wasn't a bad film.

9%?!

I thought it was more good than bad... Even though I recognise it's failings, which aren't what most critics are complaining about (unlikable characters, etc... it's neo noir, of course they're unlikeable 😉)...

Seemingly, very few of the negative critics want to engagge with the movie on it's terms...

@JustinJackFlash said:

But this also suggests another worrying notion. Most of us film fans have always spat in the face of studio interference. But were the studios always right in the first place?

This is an interesting thought. Unlike others in this discussion, I don't really view Netflix films as "made for TV" although now that it's pointed out one can see the comparisons. That said, it does seem to me that we should at least cede to Netflix some middle ground. I can't think of the last truly "made for TV" movie (thinking USA markets here) that had any quality at all. They are so safe and so canned and so cheesy as to be nearly unwatchable. I feel like the same thing is true of Netflix's TV series' as well, but to a lesser extent (they seem much more formulaic to me).

Back to the OP's point, on some level one must think that for a strong director to fight through productions and studios to make a film with real vision may be a bit like the effect of a butterfly emerging from its cocoon: while the struggle is great the resulting product is beautiful and full of life. Well, at least the ones that live in great director's control. Perhaps Netflix being in its infancy doesn't present the kind of obstacles required to demand great work? I'm not saying the studios are getting it done, but maybe producing resistance that the ones that do get through are truly great for surviving.

That said, one thing we have all seen is studios see one thing work then make 100 more just like it. Or willing to make a film no matter how bad because they know there will be a market (profit) at the end. But such is life.

Thought provoking post...I'm eager to see where this new wave of film making goes! I for one still have hope. :)

@Daddie0 said:

Back to the OP's point, on some level one must think that for a strong director to fight through productions and studios to make a film with real vision may be a bit like the effect of a butterfly emerging from its cocoon: while the struggle is great the resulting product is beautiful and full of life. Well, at least the ones that live in great director's control. Perhaps Netflix being in its infancy doesn't present the kind of obstacles required to demand great work? I'm not saying the studios are getting it done, but maybe producing resistance that the ones that do get through are truly great for surviving.

I think that answers my question. Your saying that filmmakers need that struggle and opposition as a filter? That makes a lot of sense. They have to really be sure that their material is worth the battle. If they feel their daring ideas aren't worth fighting a studio for they probably wouldn't have turned out that great anyway.

Kinda like how Hitchcock had to find a way to deal with the code restrictions of the 40s & 50s?

I think there is some truth to the sense that restrictions can force creativity... BUT, I think it is too soon to say that this is the case with Netflix movies... We've had too few of them, mostly from small time directors...

The first half of Mute is pretty good anyway... As is Okja, but I thimk that was bought by Netflix and not developed for it. Mudbound was bought as well.

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