Shame on you for reading my review on your phone or laptop instead of socializing with other people, is something Clint Eastwood’s elderly character, Earl Stone, would say to us. Based on a true story, The Mule, written and directed by Clint Eastwood, is about an estranged grandfather who, initially, unwittingly does drugs runs for the cartel for economic reasons but eventually has to find a way to continue on this new path or fix his relationship with his family.
Positives – Clint Eastwood is currently 88 years old, but the man’s still got it in him. He is as charismatic as ever, and delivers a great performance. The story is quite fascinating and there are many great character interaction moments (particularly the one with Bradley Cooper and Eastwood in a waffle shop), which makes this a solid flick. Speaking of Cooper whose previous collaboration with effort was American Sniper, he brings his A-game despite being underused in the movie. Michael Peña, Lawrence Fishburne and Andy Garcia are also in this movie and they all do a good job. Again, the performances are solid all around, but this is Eastwood’s show.
Negatives – The Mule is quite difficult to watch, at times, because Earl Stone is constantly making plenty of derogatory remarks at non-white people in the movie. Examples – calling black people as “Negroes” or a group of women as “Dykes” etc. This would not have been a big problem if the movie didn’t try to portray Stone as this wise, old man in a shitty world. The women in the movie are either pissed off at Stone or used as sex objects, with an extended party sequence where the camera focuses on their bodies. While the emotional core of the movie revolves around his complicated relationship with the women in his life (wife, daughter and grand-daughter) and there are some fantastic moments between them, the end result is not earned and feels rushed. Even the storyline with the cartel is, ultimately, not resolved, which makes that portion of the movie unnecessary. This movie clocks in at 1:56, but could have done without at least 20-25 minutes. Lastly, why didn’t Stone, himself, or any of the cartel characters ask him to change cars for every run? If the DEA was after them, which they knew about, it would have been wise to use a new car. Just saying…
I better end this review quick before Stone lambasts me for being on my laptop a bit too much. The Mule is a good movie with great performances and a terrific ensemble cast, but falls short in areas that Eastwood generally excels at.
Rating – 3.2/5.