Clint Eastwood directs and stars in The Mule, the story of a 90-year-old man who becomes a drug runner for a dangerous Mexican cartel. The money keeps Eastwood’s character motivated. Meanwhile, his ex-wife and daughter express disappointment with his continuing absence in their lives and the feds start closing in on his illegal activity.
Eastwood is playing a character more naive and corny than he usually plays, which makes for an amusing change of pace for long-time fans. The Mule is deliberately paced like all other Eastwood flicks — you just gotta let the story wash over you and enjoy all the grace notes, which include Eastwood’s casual interaction with rough-looking cartel members and a brief encounter with Dykes on Bikes. Dianne Wiest, always reliable, has perhaps the meatiest supporting role, playing Eastwood’s ex-wife. Bradley Cooper leads the B-storyline as the Fed trying to bust the cartel and their ‘mule’.
The dramatic tension pays off, though I might have preferred a darker ending. If you’re expecting any visceral thrills, you might be disappointed. As a longtime Eastwood fan, I’d stop short of calling The Mule great — but it’s certainly reliably good. With Laurence Fishburne and Andy Garcia.