Words Glenn Blomfield
I am a Clint Eastwood fan, so naturally this review will swing onto the biased side. Firstly, I cannot stop and admire what Clint Eastwood has done with his vast career in movies – in front and behind the camera. Now at the ripe old age of 88, he is still working. The Mule is Clint acting, directing and producing, in what is I feel a solid movie, slow in nature and pace, but still enough there to engage the viewer. Based on a true story of a man in his 80’s, his business in flowers has failed, his home is in foreclosure, he has very little if no, connection with his family and ex wife. Eastwood’s character is not easily likeable, he is definitely a flawed man. He has many wrongs with his life, and as a result, the family has suffered. A character that is well suited to Clint Eastwood, playing a similar ‘cousin’ to his previous film GranTorino. I loved its grumpy old man character, on the road of life, finding some redemption when all seems too late in life.
The story leads to a chance meeting and a job that requires him to drive a bag cross America State, no questions asked but for a shady bunch of Mexicans. Of course it doesn’t take too long to realise he’s peddling drugs. He becomes The Mule, becoming the largest trafficker of drugs in America, all this from the back of his pick-up truck. He is very good at his job, because he looks like an unassuming old man. Bradley Cooper also stars as an FBI agent hot on the case, trying track down the drug cartel and The Mule. Holywood great, Andy Garcia makes an appearance as the drug lord of the Cartel, so you can see there is a draw card of great actors doing fine work.
‘The Mule’ is deliberately slowed pace, I say slowed paced this is not an action thriller ride of a film, it is more of a drama. Contemplation of time on the road travelled, Clint Eastwoods character, feels he has travelled on the long wrong road, way too long to realise he needed to turn himself around and pick up things left behind, metaphorically speaking. To be honest audience may find ‘The Mule’ languid, not really going anywhere to exciting, but for this reviewer, I am content with that, I took pleasure in watching Clint Eastwood take his time, allow us just to soak in, maybe the writing does lack some lustre. Though I did find enough to engage in, and emotionally connect. Very happy to see Clint Eastwood back on the big screen, if maybe for the last time, but in my eyes there is still more to come.
So there you have it, summed up as light affair, nothing like his masterpiece ‘Unforgiven’ closer in companion to ‘Gran Torino’, not going to light the film world on fire, but still a great yarn, and a great character play by my main man Clint Eastwood