In a future Berlin, an Amish bartender works in a bar with his girlfriend, and that is the story behind Netflix’s almost hit called Mute. Directed by Duncan Jones, Mute shows a Berlin in 2052 that looks and feels similar to the city where the director’s father, David Bowie, lived in the 1970s.
In this future Berlin from Duncan Jones, there are still American soldiers on patrol on the streets. The currency is a weird version of Deutschmarks printed with the faces of Angela Merkel and David Hasselhoff.
But even though this is Berlin, the TV Tower is gone, and the Berlin Wall isn’t there anymore.
But the skyline is the most significant difference in the future of Berlin. The city planners seemed to relax and decided to go with skyscrapers everywhere. There are also neon signs illuminating the streets, and it almost feels like a dystopian Tokyo or a future Dubai. In 30 years, Berlin Mitte will be a glowing forest of buildings, at least in Duncan Jones’s version of the German capital.
But back to the movie story. The Amish bartender is Mute because he had an accident in a lake as a child. Since his family is averse to technology, he never went through the corrective surgery that could heal him.
Some American surgeons work for local gangsters, and one of them dreams about returning to the United States. Still, he doesn’t have the correct documentation since he deserted the Army. His hope is to get the visa he needs from gangsters and move. His partner has the visa, but he is a pedophile who likes to live in Berlin. When the bartender’s girlfriend disappears, he goes deep into the underground world of a future Berlin.
This is the story of Mute, and I’m still unsure if you should spend your time watching it or just leave it on your Wishlist and never return to it.
Mute is somehow disappointing on a lot of levels. Some actors don’t seem to reflect the characters they are representing. Still, the soundtrack is excellent, and the cinematography makes it look like Berlin is a dystopian future city. It’s too bad the storyline doesn’t go anywhere, and the Amish bartender is a character that doesn’t allow much love.
In the end, Mute is a movie that I would love to like, but I cannot do it.
Either way, enough about the story of Mute, and let’s focus on the future Berlin of this movie.
One of the locations in Mute is Kottbusser Tor and Kremanski Cafe. This is where the mute bartender meets with one of the American surgeons. This ground-level storefront is a part of the Neues Kreuzberger Zentrum, which opened in 1974.
The idea behind this project was to upgrade and clean a seedy part of what was then West Berlin, but it failed in its unspoken goal of scaring away the immigrant population that lived there. It didn’t work; nowadays, more than 70% of the apartments there are occupied by non-germans.
In Mute, this building at Kottbusser Tor is brought to the next level with twice its height, making it one of Kreuzberg’s tallest buildings.
Mute’s Berlin Netflix Filming Locations
In the Berlin underworld, where the mute bartender goes to investigate his girlfriend’s disappearance, most of the action happens in a future version of Checkpoint Charlie. This new Checkpoint Charlie is a multi-level red light district with all the shady characters that come with it. But the footage wasn’t captured in the original location.
Everything happens inside a Cold War-era power plant known as Kraftwerk Mitte, which can be found at Köpenicker Straße. It was used to generate electricity in East Berlin in 1964 and was shut down in 1997. Today, it’s a beautiful event venue and home to the famous electronic music club Tresor.
Another location from a future Berlin that appears on Netflix’s Mute is the ICC, also known as the Internationales Congress Centrum in Charlottenburg. This brutalist construction looks more like a spaceship than a building, and every time I cycle past it, I keep looking at all the details and how bizarre this architectural project is.
In Mute’s, the ICC appears as a shopping mall from 2052, but there isn’t anything there since this building has been unused since 2014 due to asbestos contamination. There were rumors about its demolition, but Berlin’s Senate invested 200 million euros to save it. But I have no idea about what is going to happen there.
Mute is a movie that shows a future in Berlin, and it seems to be the film’s most exciting element. Duncan Jones wants to create a noir futuristic movie that fails to accomplish anything.
It’s too bad since I had a lot of hope for this movie.
Neon Skies and Glowing Forests: The Unconventional Future of Berlin in Netflix’s Mute
I have an article for you if you are looking for some Berlin Netflix filming locations.