The Mule

I’ve been asked about Clint Eastwood’s activeness-whether he’s calling it quits or not. I thought he was through with acting when he starred in “Trouble with the Curve” back in 2012. But I was wrong when he directed himself in “The Mule,” which is inspired by a true story about a WWII vet named Leo Sharp, who transported drugs and weapons for the Sinaloa Cartel. Lately, as a director (aside from “The 15:17 to Paris”), he’s still able to survive the Trump Era.

In “The Mule,” he plays Earl Stone, a Korean War vet, whose flower shop is closing, and his family (Clint’s daughter Alison as his daughter, and Diane Wiest as his wife) have grown detached from him, after choosing work over family. In fact, only his granddaughter (Taissa Farmiga) still loves him.

With money problems, he’s given a courier job, based on the zero tickets in his lifetime, for a drug cartel. They tell him not to look into the bags on every mission, but being a movie cliche, he eventually has to. And each drop, makes him richer. 

The game becomes complicated, when two DEA agents (Bradley Cooper and Michael Pena) make a Filipino dealer (Eugene Cordero) their snitch in order to shut down the drug ring. But Earl’s biggest problem is that the cartel boss (Andy Garcia) is murdered, and his new bosses pressure him even harder. 

A lesson I’ve always knew was: when things are looking up for characters committing crimes, don’t get too comfortable. You know there has to be a snitch in the plans. It’d be a miracle for me to find a flick that doesn’t follow that rule. 

I found myself enjoying “The Mule” for allowing Eastwood to give a patient and complicated tone about his character’s relationship with the drug cartel, as well as him dealing with his own family problems. He’s almost 90, and yet, he keeps on going, like the Energizer bunny. And he also adds fresh moments with Cooper, Wiest, and his own daughter. 

I can’t exactly call it an Eastwood classic, because of how cliche it gets, and how it doesn’t really fully grasp on his cartel issues, other than his future arrest. And the racism humor and drama presented here isn’t as sharp as in “Gran Torino.”

But for what it’s worth, the movie is watchable and emotional. And I liked it, as an Eastwood fan. Guess I feel lucky.

⭐️⭐️⭐️

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