Mute Witness

"Good"

Mute Witness Review


The making of Mute Witness must have been an incredible process. The first shots were taken back in 1985, when a chance encounter with the film's "Mystery Guest Star" led to some on-the-fly cinematography. In 1993, principal photography began in Moscow, only to be interrupted by "fines" in customs, Boris Yeltsin's "October Revolution," -23 degree weather, a diphtheria epidemic, a drug addicted actor, and another with kidney disease.

Nothing was boding well for first-time feature film writer/director Anthony Waller (even this morning's screening was plagued with difficulties). But eventually, everything worked out, and Mute Witness has finally hit the big screen.

After such an ominous start, you might be expecting a dismal film. Or, you might be the optimist and expect a gem. Mute Witness is neither. (At least they didn't call it Speak No Evil, completing the trilogy of "handicapped victim of a killer" flicks.)

The story is catchy: an American, mute (not deaf) special effects/makeup artist, Billy Hughes (Russian actress Marina Sudina), is working in Moscow on a film. Trapped in the studio after hours, she witnesses a snuff film in the making, or so she thinks. After escaping from the bad guys, she tells her sister (Fay Ripley), her director/boss (Evan Richards), and the cops, but no one believes her story. Regardless, an enigmatic man known as The Reaper (the "Mystery Guest Star"--I won't spoil it), who organized said snuffing, wants Billy killed, and the chase is on.

Making the film-within-a-film in a Russian setting puts a few unique spins on the classic stalker movie. First (and worst) is lots and lots of Russian dialogue, which I'm doubting many American viewers will understand. Second is a fair amount of obvious improvisation on the screen, which tends to make the plot quite difficult to follow at times, particularly when it goes off on its blackmail/double-cross tangent at the end of the film. Fortunately, the money saved on shooting in impoverished Russia allowed Waller to spend it on some cool photography, a nice score, and some of the best Russian actors the country has to offer.

I really enjoyed Sudina's performance, and given that she has no lines, it's easy to mistake her for a seasoned American pro, rather than a Russian novice. Supporting performances are fine, and Waller's clever direction always gives us something interesting to look at, even if you the script doesn't make any sense.

All-in-all, Mute Witness is a fair first effort, but believe me, it's better than a lot of the crap Hollywood is passing off as thrillers these days. (Note: In Russian, English, and sign language(!) without subtitles.)



Mute Witness

Facts and Figures

Run time: 95 mins

In Theaters: Friday 15th September 1995

Distributed by: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Production compaines: Comet Film Produktion GmbH, Avrora Media, Cobblestone Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 80%
Fresh: 16 Rotten: 4

IMDB: 6.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Billy Hughes, as Karen Hughes, as Andy Clarke, as Larsen, Igor Volkov as Arkadi, Serguei Karlenkov as Lyosh, as The Reaper

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Julieta Movie Review

Julieta Movie Review

Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with another powerfully complex female-centred drama, along the...

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

An astute satire of the pop music business, this raucous mock-documentary is consistently hilarious from...

War Dogs Movie Review

War Dogs Movie Review

Based on a rather astounding true story, this comedy-drama centres on two stoners who landed...

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

After a number of films, TV series and stage adaptations, Arthur Ransome's beloved 1930 novel...

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

The original BBC sitcom The Office ran for 14 episodes from 2001 to 2003, and...

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

Bold and intelligent, this dark drama is a challenging portrait of the making of an...

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

This hugely enjoyable adventure is a loose remake of the 1977 Disney hit that blended...

Advertisement
The Shallows Movie Review

The Shallows Movie Review

With a simple premise and plenty of visual style, Spanish filmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown) takes...

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Watching this gross-out comedy, it's clear that the gifted cast and crew had a great...

Nerve Movie Review

Nerve Movie Review

With a premise that feels almost eerily current, this stylish thriller revolves around a phone...

The Carer Movie Review

The Carer Movie Review

Brian Cox gets the role of a lifetime in this warm comedy about living life...

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Writer-director Robert Budreau takes a stylised approach to this biopic of the legendary jazz artist...

Jason Bourne Movie Review

Jason Bourne Movie Review

It's been nine years since Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass collaborated on The Bourne Ultimatum,...

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

Veteran Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg (Festen, The Hunt) returns to a smaller homegrown story after...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.