Here comes the definite film about racial discrimination in the southern states of USA during the 20th century; a film so vary of every aspect and every human emotion that anyone inclined to draw quick and simple conclusions are brushed aside and urged by the filmmakers to think again. Mudbound is the film that succeeds wonderfully at what films ranging from The Color Purple to The Help couldn't quite.
And the key to success is layers and understanding. Director and co-writer Dee Rees not only uses her camera brilliantly to capture the human side of her characters (even when it comes to Jonathan Banks as the racist "Pappy"), but she realises that the only way to get to the bottom of the problem and understand all the mechanisms at play is to illuminate every aspect, right down to the fact that it takes generations to reverse a rotten attitude.
Still, the best part of Mudbound is not how Rees sheds light on the very inflamed issue of racism, but rather how she's most interested in the inherent goodness in people, illustrated through the friendship between Ronsel (Jason Mitchell) and Jamie (Garrett Hedlund). The paradox, of course, is that it was war that brought these two together and made them realize the meaninglessness of not viewing all humans as equal. Theirs is one of the most beautiful friendships captured on film in quite a while, and Mitchell and Hedlund play out their parts brilliantly, as their masculine guard slowly is lowered to open up for friendship.
Mudbound is a beautiful film from beginning to end. Through Rachel Morrison's magnificent cinematography, it is a tribute to the soil we live off of and the timelessness of farming upon which we all depend. The story, which is based on a novel by Hillary Jordan, is an exploration of close to every human emotion, from boiling hate to all-embracing love.