Muzzle: A Powerful Movie About Honor, Made by People Who Don’t Hate Americans or Christians
When a movie on Rotten Tomatoes has a high audience approval rating and a low critical rating, it usually means that conservatives will like it. It’s usually a movie for the people and not for the “elites.”
Such is the case with Muzzle, a film that was released in September and is now out on DVD. Muzzle is is a good solid piece of movie-making created by that rarest of breeds: Hollywood people who don’t hate normal Americans. The film is rated 16+. Criminals are depicted as awful people, drugs as soul-killers, and moms and newborn babies as healing miracles. There is no nudity.
Working Through Trauma Together
The plot is simple: a police officer suffering from PTSD overreacts during a bust. His fellow officer, a dog, is killed during the episode. The cop is placed in leave but rather than get any rest, he adopts a new dog and goes in the hunt for the criminals who ruined his life. The new dog, Socks, has also been traumatized, by criminals who once kidnapped and tortured her. Socks and Rosser are going to help heal each other as they look for the bad guys.
The new, traumatized dog Socks is meant to mirror Rosser, who too often lets his own inner animal out. Director Stalberg used literal mirrors to symbolize this reality. “We tried to reflect that literally by using mirrors, through a sequence where there’s a shattered mirror when he’s fighting a guy in an abandoned house in Bel Air,” Stalberg said in a recent interview. “We sort of have the mirror rocking from Socks to the reflection to Jake, back to Socks to Jake. There’s these kind of parallels throughout the film that Socks has this checkered background.”
Real Femininity Is Strength
Representing love and the feminine is Mia (Penelope Mitchell), Jake’s girlfriend who lives across the hall. For years now, liberals have tried to combat the idea that women are nurturing healers. Instead, they promoted “empowerment,” which means increasingly making women ape male behavior at its worst. Women in movies now drink, cuss, have dangerous sex and absurdly battle and defeat antagonists five times their size. (Harley Quinn? Please.)
We know that the real alternative to “toxic masculinity” isn’t passivity, but stubborn moral strength. Mia gets tired of Jake’s rage, at one point walking out on him — a subtly acted scene where Mia tells Jake to get his act together as the elevator doors slowly close and Jake can do nothing but watch.
Crucially, Mia does not just embody feminine beauty, empathy and toughness. She ultimately brings new life. In a film like Brokeback Mountain children are seen as almost intolerable — ear-splitting, dirty, a burden. In most other modern Hollywood films they are not part of the plot at all, or are props to sit passively while the parents feud.
In Muzzle, the child who arrives in Jake’s life is shown as a miracle that can save a life. Whereas Socks is the mirror of the raw, violent animal Jake, the newborn is a mirror of a new life in God, who heals all trauma. It is the most pro-life message imaginable.
Yes, there are echoes of other films in Muzzle. There’s Clint Eastwood’s Dirty Harry series, in which a damaged yet honorable policeman defies a weak system to attain justice. There’s John Wick, a revenge fantasy about a guy who comes after the goons who kill his dog. There are also glimpses of the post-Vietnam movies of the 1970s and 1980s. There’s also some film noir.
Powerful Acting Brings the Story to Vivid Life
What sets Muzzle out from the pack are the performances of two of the actors: Aaron Eckhart as the protagonist, Detective Rosser, and Delissa Reynolds as Detective Ramos. Eckhart, a Hollywood veteran, wonderfully underplays Rosser. Jeff Bridges once said it took him years to learn “how to be still on camera.” Rosser has explosions of rage, but for most of the film his pain is quietly expressed in his face. Eckhart is a much better actor than Keanu Reeves.
Also excellent is Delissa Reynolds as Detective Ramos. Ramos sympathizes with Rosser, feeding him tips after he has been given a leave of absence. Reynolds had that rare ability to command a scene. She is charismatic and draws the viewer to her. Stephen Lang (from Avatar) in a minor role is also excellent.
Rosser and Ramos represent honor, which is what Muzzle is ultimately about. Like Dirty Harry, Rosser is answering to a higher authority than the media or even the police department.
In following his conscience he finds not only justice, but literally new life. Hollywood is usually selling us garbage, so you should vote for something better and check out Muzzle. It’s a cool movie made by people who don’t hate you.
Mark Judge is a writer and filmmaker in Washington, D.C. His new book is The Devil’s Triangle: Mark Judge vs the New American Stasi.