‘Muted’ Review: A Mystery Plagued by Annoying Characters
Netflix has been bringing a lot of productions from Spain to the streaming service, and most of them have proven successful in one way or another. Of course, not every production is going to have the same impact as something like Money Heist, but they can be sure that each of these series will find its audience. Now, Netflix brings Muted, a new mystery thriller that will place the audience into an enigma they need to solve if they want to get all the answers to the questions asked by its premise. The result is uneven, if a bit trite.
Muted is a mystery thriller created by Aitor Gabilondo and starring Arón Piper, Almuneda Amor, Cristina Kovani, Manu Rios, and Aitor Luna. The series tells the story of Sergio, a young man accused of his parents’ death and placed in prison. Six years later, Sergio goes out of prison and starts looking for his young sister Noa, without knowing that he is also the subject of a sick psychological experiment led by a scientist who might be obsessed with him in the worst possible ways. Can Sergio find his sister and rebuild his life?
Gabilondo has many credits as a TV writer and creator of several TV shows, so you could say he knows exactly what he is doing. In a way, this is very true because Muted begins in such a way that it will bring many people to the screen. Not only because the premise sounds quite attractive from afar but also because the cast is filled with fresh new talents that will attract the eyes of the younger demographics. As a show, Muted is crafted to create questions, raise the tension and then release it, as the answers to the mysteries get exposed one at a time.
However, the show suffers from a fatal flaw that, among several others, feels like something that cannot be forgiven. Muted is filled with a cast of terrible characters that evolve into some of the most annoying characters in recent memory. We are talking about characters with absurd motivations, who make incompetent and dumb decisions at every corner, and characters with zero charisma. Muted only runs for six episodes, but they feel like torture. Watching this show feels like being trapped in a coffin with your worst enemy. It is the worst kind of punishment.
On top of that, the premise itself feels quite fantastic and doesn’t really stand out to scrutiny even at the end of the season. You see, the psychological experiment with Sergio as a subject is led by one very young scientist looking for answers to things that are not really that interesting. So, when she begins explaining what is happening, you definitely feel like this person is insane, and everything becomes a huge waste of time. The amount of wasted resources on display in this experiment is truly out of this world, and it really serves as a way to take me out of the story in every single way. The flow of the story is never just right.
The show also has a very solemn tone that feels quite awkward. The show aims to be serious by telling a dark story about childhood trauma, suicide, and other heavy subjects. However, the piece’s tone makes it seem like all these subjects were chosen to make the story appear serious and not vice versa. Everything feels forced, from the unrealistic premise to how the main character, Sergio, has mostly chosen to remain silent. At least until it is not convenient for him, it makes the entire gimmick and name of the show seem pointless.
The characters also tend to verbalize every single thought that comes to their minds. This doesn’t only feel like something that characters of this type wouldn’t do, but also it feels like a sloppy way to provide exposition to the audience. It leaves nothing to the imagination, making the entire show feel more like an audio play than a TV show. It also breaks the suspension of disbelief a couple of times, as characters are apparently being told something they should have known already, for the first time, many times.
The narrative makes each character feel quite incompetent, and as the series progresses, it is hard to believe that these characters were allowed to do something like this in the first place. All the actors try their best, but the material is not good enough. When you arrive at the end of the season, you realize this could have been a movie instead of this overlong narrative that mostly moves in circles until the time to start closing things arrives. It is definitely not the best way to make a series that is supposed to be compelling and exciting.
Regarding the visuals, the show looks quite solid. Nothing here screams visual splendor, but the camera work is solid and does what it needs to do. It would have been great if the series had taken care of the visual design a bit more, but taking into account the way these shows are made, the team must not have enough time to take care of the framing of each scene and deliver something that would make the show stand out on a visual level. The soundtrack also does what is expected. On a technical level, the show just functions but doesn’t surprise us.
Muted does try to create a compelling story but fails at creating compelling characters worth following. The entire premise feels forced and unnecessary, and something that wouldn’t really happen in the universe the show is presenting. This is already a big problem, and if, on top of that, we add the sloppy storytelling, the overuse of exposition, and not leaving anything out so that the audience can come up with their own conclusion, you end up creating a show that feels more boring than anything else. There are better ways to spend six hours of your time.