Clint Eastwood’s latest directorial effort, starring himself in the lead role, follows 90 year-old Earl Stone. He has a fractured relationship with his family and after falling on hard times financially, finds himself inadvertently becoming a drug mule for a Mexican cartel.
The Mule is a bit of a slow burn, but thankfully it never feels dull, mainly due to the captivating performance by Eastwood, who makes Earl immediately likeable despite his obvious flaws, of which he has many. His naive innocence as he unknowingly works for a cartel early on in the film is extremely funny and you can’t help but love Earl, which is mirrored by some of the characters in the film who also take a shining to him, despite the serious, dangerous nature of their business. Inevitably Earl becomes aware of what he is really a part of, which leads to some entertaining moments as he indulges in the luxuries that come with the lifestyle of being a wealthy drug cartel member.
This film does walk a fairly predictable path, but it doesn’t take away from the story. As well as being a solid crime drama, The Mule carries some poignant messages about the importance of family, one does wonder if Eastwood was inspired by personal experiences when he made this film, because there are definitely some clear messages in here telling the audience to never take their family for granted. Luckily, it doesn’t feel tacked on and it serves the narrative well, giving the audience some very heartwarming, emotional moments.
Overall, I enjoyed The Mule, it isn’t Eastwood’s best work but it is still a solid film that is well worth a watch. The film boasts a strong supporting cast including Bradley Cooper, Michael Pena and Laurence Fishburne who definitely help to elevate the overall product, but Eastwood is still the star here, and he’s still going strong at 88 years old. If you’re looking for a solid crime drama, you could do a lot worse than this.
I give The Mule a 7.5/10.