Director: Dee Rees
Starring: Jason Mitchell, Garrett Hedlund, Carey Mulligan, Jason Clarke, Mary J. Blige, Rob Morgan
Societies are built on bodies. This fact isn't exclusive to the United States, though it may sometimes feel that way because the legacy of those bodies continues to echo so resoundingly through its contemporary social and political climate. Dee Rees' historical epic Mudbound opens by acknowledging this through two of its characters digging a hole and turning up a set of chains followed by the remains of a slave, and then builds by demonstrating how the condition of slavery is perpetuated in spirit if not in name as it explores the relationship between two families, one black and one white, in the years just prior to and just after World War II. It's a great achievement, a period film that does not just have the look of something important, but actually is important, speaking not only to the past but also to the present. It's a vital, brutal, and engrossing movie.