Inspired by a true story, hat-juggling Clint Eastwood’s ostensible swan-song focuses on a man in his 80s, broke as a bent nail, who is forced to accept a job as a drug-runner to pay the bills.
Earl Stone (Eastwood) is facing foreclosure of his horticultural business when he’s offered a seemingly straight-forward job – all he would have to do is drive product from point A to stop B. What Stone soon realizes is that he’s transporting drugs for the Mexican cartel. Doing so well at it, Stone’s cargo increases, and he’s assigned a handler. But while the handler is keeping tabs on the old guy’s movements, so is the DEA – in particular, uber thorough agent Colin Bates (Bradley Cooper).
Money might be aligning Stone’s pants again but the mistakes he’s making – and some he’s also made in the past, particularly in regards to his ex-wife (Wiest) – slowly come back to haunt, ultimately leaving ‘The Mule’ with less and less times to correct his path.
An intimate, sombre slow-burn drama that showcases the ever-present directorial and performance skills of the seemingly unstoppable Eastwood, 89, “The Mule” relies heavily on the charm of it’s key character, and his engrossing, panicky plight, to capture the audience. It does that effortlessly, and with such a strong ensemble backing the big guy up – Cooper, Wiest, and even Andy Garcia, playing chief crook – remains consistently entertaining for its 2-hour runtime.
Blu-ray : The video (presented in the 2.40:1 aspect ratio) and audio (5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track) is seamless and effective, trumpeting the film’s combined use of the Arri Alexa XT and Arri Alexa Mini cameras and chat-heavy soundtrack. The extras component, consisting of a short featurette and a song, is pretty disappointing though.