Since the 2008 film Gran Torino, “The Mule” is first film Clint Eastwood has directed in which he appears.
“The Mule” is an American crime drama based on a true story and events associated with the Sinaloa Cartel. Eastwood reunites with “Gran Torino” screenwriter Nick Schenk and “Million Dollar Baby” producer Tim Moore for this film.
In his latest project, Eastwood plays Earl Stone. Earl is a horticulturist and World War II veteran in his 80s who lives in Peoria, Illinois. But despite these admirable labels, all is not rosy for Earl.
Some 12 years prior, Earl had chosen to attend an awards ceremony over his daughter, Iris’ wedding. And Iris, Eastwood’s real life daughter – Alison, would bear a grudge for many years to come. Ginny (Taissa Farmiga) stars as Iris’ daughter. She is now an adult who’s about to marry. And history nearly repeats itself when Earl finds himself in a financial mess days to his granddaughter’s wedding.
So Earl becomes a drug courier unknowingly. He’s convinced that it would be a one-off job to enable him fulfil his promise to his granddaughter for her wedding. But after he makes a first trip, in no distant time he accepts a second and a third. The Mexican cartel also become fond of him and nickname him “Tata” meaning grandfather. But soon, this seeming success becomes addictive. Earl strives to gain the approval of his family and friends and makes more drops. Interestingly too, Earl’s family and friend’s didn’t question his new source of income. Even when he eventually told his ex-wife Mary (Dianne Wiest) he had tons of cocaine in his trunk, she laughed it off.
After his stunning directorial debut “A Star is Born”, Bradley Cooper joins the cast of “The Mule”. He is Colin Bates a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent transferred to Chicago. He reports to the DEA Special Agent in Charge (Laurence Fishburne) who assigns him to the case. Bates partner is DEA agent Trevino (Michael Peña). Bates and Trevino have a task to track down the cartel. They make several unsuccessful bursts. Meanwhile there’s a change to the cartel’s leadership. This change coupled with Earl’s defiance would hand him on a platter to the DEA.
“The Mule” is a satisfying lesson on getting one’s priorities right, and how the need for acceptance can motivate humans to do what is wrong. You also gather that sometimes, it’s the most unlikely people that are guilty.
Eastwood is 88 years old, so don’t expect any high-octane action sequences or performances. The story just cruises and never really peaks. But if you cruise along, you’ll find “The Mule” entertaining.
“The Mule” is showing in theatres.
Directed by: Clint Eastwood
Cast: Clint Eastwood as Earl Stone, Bradley Cooper, Laurence Fishburne, Michael Peña as Trevino, Dianne Wiest, Andy García, Alison Eastwood, Taissa Farmiga