Clint Eastwood returns to the screen for the first time in years. He is back directing and acting at the age of 88 in this well paced study of an elderly drug mule. An entertaining-nuanced crime caper that focuses on a man whose family and life is slowly decaying, minute by minute.
Typically in films and reality drug mules tend to be young, scared and silly looking for a bit of money. But our criminal in The Mule is rather different and completely unsuspecting, with his old-rambling-wisecracking nature not even in plain site does anyone suspect him of being their target.
We follow Earl Stone, obsessed with flowers but with the rise of the internet begins loosing out on business. He has neglected his family, only showing up for a place to stay when lost. Struck with hard times he becomes desperate to make some money, he is given a shining new opportunity to earn some cash by driving an undisclosed package hours up the road. A one time job turned into a proper job, transporting drugs for the cartel making him rich and full of hope.
Eastwood plays a man struck with difficulties, he is rather nuanced as a seemingly sour yet nice man at times. An underlying racist and sexist tone is ever present, with a specifically shocking scene where Earl sleeps with two very young women – it’s laugh out loud funny because it’s so disturbing.
It is a perfect match for Eastwood, with his sleek and slow direction paralleling to his slow-growling performance. Although very different it reminded me of ‘High Plains Drifter’ in terms of the slow-community like nature with Eastwood’s character always on the move.
The Mule is a sentimental look at an unsuspecting criminal, driven by Eastwood’s sly direction and performance.