Earlier this year, Clint Eastwood wrote and directed a film starring three young heroes who stopped a terrorist attack in France called The 15:17 to Paris. Unfortunately, this gamble did not pay off as the movie with amateur actors bombed critically and didn’t reach the heights that Eastwood set for the film. Ten months later, Eastwood has a chance at redemption with a film called The Mule and Eastwood does not flub his second chance.
In The Mule, Eastwood plays a surly old man named Earl, who has put his entire life into his floral business but has spent little time with his family. Now that his business has gone under due to the internet boom, he is now a man with no job and a broken relationship with his family. One day after getting kicked out of his granddaughter’s engagement party, he is approached by a man who offers him a job with big money and all he has to do is drive, the catch? He has to run drugs for a dangerous drug cartel undergoing an internal power struggle. While Earl tries to keep the cartel off his back, he also dealing with an ambitious DEA agent who is closing in on his operation and he doesn’t even know it.
Despite the central story being about two sides of the long going War on Drugs, the theme of The Mule is all about family and personal responsibility. There is a point of the film where you aren’t sure whether Earl knows what he has gotten himself into but later you realize that he is fully aware of his actions. But what Clint does in this film unlike many others is instead of blaming others or looking for a way out, he simply accepts his fate and the consequences of his actions. This is done by selling the fact that it isn’t all about you but the ones around you. The ‘go home’ message here is never take your family for granted because time is the most important commodity that you can never buy or get back.
The film is going to test your political correctness with some off-color jokes that Eastwood’s character gets away with due to being an ignorant old man. The Mule is mostly just straightforward storytelling, the performances are very good but you can tell no one is going for an Oscar with the film. Despite that Eastwood proves that even at age 88, he still packs a punch in front and behind the camera.