“The Mute, Daniel and Diego Vega’s second feature following 2010’s Un Certain Regard winner Octubre, is unlikely to win over the Lav Diaz-led jury,” predicts Michael Pattison at the House Next Door. “Though its synopses suggest a dark and brooding thriller about endemic corruption in present-day Peru’s judicial system, The Mute‘s more immediate concerns are domestic politics and the burdens of intergenerational expectation. Selected as part of the Cinefondation L’Atelier funding arm at Cannes 2011 and produced by Carlos Reygadas, the Vegas’ latest effort is not without its strengths, among them a strong compositional precision and some deadpan humor, but it wears thinner as it moves along, its visual palette and vocabulary too unvaried to sustain one’s interest in its increasingly absurd plot.”
EL MUDO, Daniel & Diego Vega. Mexico/Peru. Deadpan funny-sad vengeance seeking judge. Creepy tonal shifts deliberate? Provocatively weird.
— Shelly Kraicer (@skraicer) August 8, 2013
The Mute‘s “relatively thin story is almost exclusively carried by the expressions on one man’s face,” writes Eric Kohn at Indiewire. Constantino Zegarra (Fernando Bacillio) is “a no-nonsense magistrate” who “[doles] out justice without an iota of sympathy for lawbreakers,” and you can see the consequences spelled out in the trailer below. “As a metaphor for responsible citizens silenced by indifferent majority, his vocal restrictions are a touch on-the-nose, but The Mute efficiently roots Constantino’s experience in loud, talky urban surroundings to reflect his entrapment…. The Mute traps viewers in its protagonist’s world so that his wordless experience turns into a valiant fight against the enemies of self-expression.”
For more, in Spanish, see Diego Lerer‘s review at Micropsia.
Competing in Locarno, The Mute will screen in the Contemporary World Cinema program in Toronto.
Update, 8/29: A few technical notes from Variety‘s Jay Weissberg: “Visuals, courtesy of Fergan Chavez-Ferrer, have a satisfying precision and observational clarity in keeping with Constantino’s poker-faced world, and Gianfranco Annichini’s spot-on editing makes the most of the dark humor; ditto Oscar Camacho’s irony-inflected tunes (all three men collaborated with the Vegas brothers on October).”
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