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At 88 years old, Clint Eastwood is showing no signs of slowing down behind the camera, and in this film he makes a rare appearance in front of it.
Eastwood stars as Earl Stone, a once successful horticulturalist whose flower business has been ruined by the proliferation of the internet. He finds himself on the outs with his family, who he neglected while he was a successful businessman who spent all his time on the road. To top it all off, the bank has foreclosed his property, so Earl finds himself lost. That is, until the opportunity to do a bit of driving comes up. The rules are simple: Earl collects his cargo, doesn’t look at it, and drops it off at a predetermined destination. While things star t off small, complications begin to arise as the loads of cargo get bigger, as well as Earl’s payoffs. Not to mention the fact that the cartel have caught the eye of the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration), in particular an ambitious agent in the form of Agent Colin Bates (Bradley Cooper).
While the subject matter may seem heavy, this is actually a pretty light watch all anchored by Eastwood’s performance. Even at his age, Eastwood still manages to imbue Earl with a mischievous glint in his eye, and you do find yourself rooting for him when we see what he starts to do with the money he is making. The film reminded me of the early seasons of “Breaking Bad” in some respects, with Earl being a man with nothing to lose, trying to do right by his family, but gets in over his head.
Like most Eastwood films, “The Mule” focuses on story and character over spectacle, so don’t expect any dramatic car chases or shootouts. The supporting cast are all very strong, from Cooper, Michael Pena, and Laurence Fishburne as DEA agents on the tail of the cartel, to Dianne Wiest, Alison Eastwood (Clint’s real life daughter), and Taissa Farmiga as Earl’s ex-wife, daughter, and grand-daughter respectively. All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this film and it’s great to have Eastwood still going strong making compelling, fact based dramas as only he can.
Theses are the considered and learned words of our Kevin Dillon, @kevinwritestuff
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