“Mudbound” adapts the symbol-heavy bestseller with finesse
Adapting a book is never easy, particularly one such as Hillary Jordan’s Mudbound. The narrative is told first-person by multiple characters, and that contradicts the first rule of screenwriting – show, don’t tell. Yet in their “Mudbound” adaptation, writer/director Dee Rees and screenwriter Virgil Williams show and tell. They retain much of Jordan’s brilliant narration, yet Rees ensures her movie is filmic. All the great characters are there, expressing themselves onscreen and in voice-over, but the visuals of them interacting with each other and their 1945 rural Mississippi environment is where this film speaks volumes. Rees relies on strong symbolism and metaphors too which help make this one of 2017’s best and most watchable films.