Inside Out 2023: Our Review of ‘Mutt’

Posted in Festival Coverage, Movies by - June 03, 2023
Inside Out 2023: Our Review of ‘Mutt’

Feña (Lío Mehiel) navigates New York City as a trans man. The city seems like the kind of place with its own bubbles, where one doesn’t have to see people they don’t like for any reason. That’s not always the case, but that may not always be such a bad thing. He runs into his cis ex-boyfriend John (Cole Doman), and this run-in starts out positively. But that doesn’t come with complications. After all, he has to pick his father Pablo (Alejandro Goic) from the airport and he has to juggle that and John and his sister Zoe (Mimi Ryder).

That is the story of Mutt, which is trans male director Vuk Lungulov-Klotz’s film about the most stressful day in his protagonist’s life. Skimming through a synopsis and a few reviews made the film seem like a trans male version of Uncut Gems but he gives his story an arc, giving the story multiple notes instead of just the one. Lungulov-Klotz also rnders the city and his plot with a Wellesian efficency. The production value is evident in this independent project. For example, it rains during parts of the film which is something his team made happen and beautifully.

Mutt lets viewers spend 2 calendar days with its protagonist. But thankfully, that’s enough time to give us a full sense of who Feña is, thanks to Mehiel’s performance. They do things like change his vioce to fit his character better. Most anti-heroes have the mix of toughness and vulnerability that Mehiel gives layers to. I haven’t read the reviews accusing this film of being didactic but I don’t see that here. Mehiel shows Feña’s burden of bring someone who has to explain himself to people which they do well. They’re an important part in taking us to a unique journey.

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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watches movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
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