Over the course of the past two years, Netflix has become one of Hollywood’s most formidable power players, and yet the one thing that has yet eluded the upstart streaming service cum content-producer is an Oscar. That may change come this fall when it debuts Mudbound, an epic period piece drama from director Dee Rees that will arrive both online and in select theaters — the latter so that it can qualify for next year’s Academy Awards. Coming on the heels of intense festival buzz, Mudbound should be one of the season’s most talked-about releases, and now, it has delivered a powerful first teaser.
Like the best promos, the maiden spot for Mudbound suggests atmosphere, character, and conflict without laying out many actual plot specifics. Instead, it provides tantalizing glimpses of two 1940s Mississippi Delta clans, one black and one white, struggling to overcome a host of hurdles — including racism, economic hardship, and familial strife — while also coping with a member who’s still getting over their WWII trauma. With a stellar cast that includes Carey Mulligan, Jason Mitchell, Garrett Hedlund, Jason Clarke, and Mary J. Blige, it should have no shortage of sterling performances, and its portrait of economic and racial hardship, replete with run-ins with the KKK, will undoubtedly also make it a timely snapshot of individual and social strife.
When it premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, Variety’s Peter Debruge called the film “a hymn to what we all share — the human struggle, the mutual desire to succeed and create a better world for our children — and it is a damning indictment of those who stand in the way of such progress.” Moviegoers won’t have to wait too long to experience it themselves, as Mudbound arrives on Netflix and in select theaters on Nov. 17.
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