The Paul Rudd Sci-Fi Netflix Thriller That Will Leave You Speechless

By Chad Langen | Updated

Paul Rudd in Mute

For those in search of a gritty neo-thriller that promises to both fascinate and surprise, look no further than Mute. Released in 2018, this film showcases the versatile Paul Rudd, breaking away from his usual comedic mold to deliver a chilling performance that will leave you speechless. You can currently catch this intriguing cinematic experience streaming on Netflix.

Paul Rudd is a menacing surgeon in Mute, a bizarre sci-fi film on Netflix.

Set in a future Berlin, Mute intertwines the life of a non-verbal bartender, Leo (Alexander Skarsgard), with the city’s gritty underworld. After his girlfriend goes missing, Leo embarks on a desperate quest to find her, his silence a stark contrast to the cacophony of the city around him. His search becomes more complicated when he crosses paths with two rogue surgeons, Cactus Bill (Paul Rudd) and Duck (Justin Theroux), leading to intense confrontations and revelations.

Duncan Jones, the esteemed director behind films like Source Code and Moon, envisioned a unique world in Mute, blending elements of classic noir with futuristic settings. Collaborating closely with Paul Rudd and the rest of the cast, Jones managed to breathe life into a script he’d nurtured for years. The meticulous detailing in the film’s production design, combined with its engaging score, sets the tone for a mystery that unfolds unpredictably.

Alexander Skarsgård
Alexander Skarsgard in Mute

Making a film like Mute required assembling a team that could envision the stark contrasts of its world. Cinematographer Gary Shaw, who previously worked with Jones on Moon, was pivotal in this endeavor. He was essential in truly encapsulating the film’s core essence.

Mute also benefits from the strong performances of its cast, especially from Alexander Skarsgard as the silent Leo. Meanwhile, Paul Rudd, known for his comedic roles in movies like Ant-Man, took a departure from his regular roles to don the mantle of the gritty and somewhat unhinged Cactus Bill. Justin Theroux, playing Duck, is also essential to the movie’s dark underbelly, complementing Rudd’s menacing performance.

Those familiar with Paul Rudd’s comedic roles were intrigued to see him in a setting so different from his usual fare.

While there’s no denying that Mute is ambitious and visually stunning, it’s not without its flaws. In fact, the movie received mixed reviews from critics. While some lauded the film’s aesthetic and performances, others believed its plot was convoluted and challenging to follow.

Audiences, too, had varied reactions to the film. Those familiar with Paul Rudd’s comedic roles were intrigued to see him in a setting so different from his usual fare. On the other hand, some viewers found the film’s pacing slow and the world-building dense, making it a challenging watch for those expecting a straightforward thriller.

Paul Rudd in Mute

Despite the mixed reception, Mute garnered attention for its distinctive take on the sci-fi genre. Its uniqueness is, in no small part, thanks to Paul Rudd’s against-type performance and the chemistry he shared with the rest of the cast. The film, over time, has developed a bit of a cult following, with fans praising its intricate world-building and layered characters.

In terms of production, Mute faced challenges, especially since it had been a passion project for Duncan Jones for over a decade. Jones had written the script 16 years before Netflix finally picked it up. Thankfully, with the streaming giant backing the project, audiences worldwide got to see Rudd in one of his most unique roles.

Thanks to the performances of Paul Rudd and Alexander Skarsgard, Mute has developed a cult following in the last few years.

An intriguing piece of trivia concerning Mute is that it was conceived by Duncan Jones as a spiritual successor to his film Moon. Sam Rockwell’s character from Moon even makes a brief cameo, further establishing the connected universe. This connection was not lost on fans and was a delightful easter egg for those familiar with Paul Rudd’s co-star from Jones’ 2009 picture.

Another tidbit of trivia is that Mute was originally intended to be a more straightforward, contemporary thriller. It was only later that the futuristic elements were added, offering a more unique backdrop against which Paul Rudd and his co-stars could shine. This transformation of the script is indicative of the ever-evolving nature of filmmaking and how stories can change over time to fit a vision.

While its reception was mixed, Mute is a unique cinematic experience that deserves attention for its ambitious storytelling and memorable performances. As with any film, its true value might only be recognized with time. This thriller, featuring Alexander Skarsgard and Paul Rudd, is available to stream on Netflix.