Mudbound uses voice-over narration, but in a way that’s considerably different than what we conventionally see. Instead of a single narrator, the script has several narrators, reflective of the way the plot switches points of narrative POV. So, there’s a lot of V.O. narration and a lot of different perspectives presented in that dialogue.
Here is an especially memorable side of voice-over narration given by Hap Jackson, the father figure of the Jackson family, African-American farmers on land they do not own.
“What good is a deed? My grandfathers and great uncles, grandmothers and great aunts, father and mother, broke, tilled, thawed, planted, plucked, raised, burned, broke again. Worked this land all they life, this land that never would be theirs. They worked until they sweated. They sweated until they bled. They bled until they died. Died with the dirt of this same 200 acres under their fingernails. Died clawing at the hard, brown back that would never be theirs. All their deeds undone. Yet this man, this place, this law… say you need a deed. Not deeds.”
There are so many references to the land in the story, it’s a key visual and metaphorical theme throughout. And, of course, dirt becomes mud when mixed with water… rain… even tears.