"The Mule" Movie Review
At 88 years old, Clint Eastwood proves he's still got it. Based on a true story, Eastwood's new film The Mule uses a sense of drama with a hint of comedic relief to weave together a story that focuses more on family values and morality than the drug cartels.
The film follows Earl Stone, a Korean war veteran whose house was foreclosed on and has become desperate for money. He's offered a job and unknowingly becomes a drug mule. Once he figures out what's going on, he begins transporting more and more, using the money to repair his community and help his granddaughter. Just like Heisenberg in Breaking Bad, Earl becomes addicted to the huge payout and keeps transporting the drugs all the while trying to repair his own family life.
Because the film is based on actual events, certain names have been changed to protect the identities of those involved. There were also some fictional elements implemented as there always are. Overall, though, the film stayed mostly true to reality and, in a way that only Clint Eastwood can, it related to everyone in different ways.
The principle that resonated with me most was how Earl realized far too late how many regrets he had. He had focused on his horticulture work and paid little to no attention to his family. Years down the road, his daughter Iris refuses to speak to him and his ex-wife Mary is cold toward him. The only person that sticks up for him is his granddaughter Ginny and even she slowly begins to turn against him. It's a hard lesson to face, not only for Earl, but for anyone.
The acting was top-notch, especially from Dianne West who had a rather difficult role, especially toward the end. Alison Eastwood gave her best performance in a long time and Taissa Farmiga pulled on the heartstrings again and again. Clint Eastwood seemingly gets better and better every time he's on screen, molding drama and comic relief together brilliantly.
Clint also directed the film, which was a major step-up from his last film The 15:17 to Paris. He actually reunited with several people he worked with before. He worked with Bradley Cooper in American Sniper, Laurence Fishburne in Mystic River, and Michael Pena in Million Dollar Baby. Let's not forget that Alison Eastwood has worked with her dad four times now. I always loved that Clint worked with his own family, even in films that depicted a broken family.
In conclusion, The Mule is thought-provoking and dramatic as well as funny and thrilling. It has everything that one would want in a film and every moment is unforgettable. I give the film a 3.5 out of 4.
© 2019 Nathan Jasper