Mudbound is an exceptional look at racial inequality in the United States before the Civil Rights Act was passed [Review]

Mudbound is an exceptional look at racial inequality in the United States before the Civil Rights Act was passed [Review]

Racial inequality was rife in the US during the 1940s and Mudbound perfectly captures the nuance of interracial relationships at the time

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Jason Mitchell (left) and Garrett Hedlund star in the historical drama about racial inequality, Mudbound.
Photo: Steve Dietl/Netflix

The critically acclaimed Mudbound is an extraordinarily compelling historical drama about racial inequality, set in the southern US state of Mississippi in the 1940s.

The story opens with Henry McAllan (Jason Clarke) and his brother Jamie (Garrett Hedlund) trying to bury their racist father Pappy (Jonathan Banks), and asking the black American Jackson family to help them move the coffin.

Meanwhile, a flashback shows Henry and his wife Laura (Carey Mulligan) moving to a farm with their daughters and Pappy. Living nearby are Hap Jackson (Rob Morgan) and his wife Florence (Mary J. Blige), hard-working tenant farmers who hope to one day own their own land.


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Mudbound uses a storytelling style that resembles the novel from which it is adapted, with characters taking turns to narrate. There is frequent use of voiceovers, a technique which reveals a glimpse of each character’s inner voice and turmoil without affecting the plot.

While this could have tempted the director to “tell” instead of “show”, there is no shortage of visually pleasing elements: the acting is exceptional, and the spectacular cinematography helps to convey unspoken emotion.

There’s no doubt that Mudbound deserved its four Oscar nominations, but they are the least of the reasons you should watch it.

Edited by Ben Young

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This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Exceptional look at racial themes

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