Emma Kiely reviews the latest picture from Clint Eastwood that came out forty years too late.
Clint Eastwood is back again portraying Earl Stone, a horticulturist who after losing his business to the internet and ignoring his family to the point of resentment, is given an opportunity to make some cash by being a drug mule for a Mexican drug cartel. Earl embarks on a series of “runs”, oblivious to the fact that DEA agents played by Bradley Cooper and Michael Pena are hot on his trail.
This film, although entertaining and skilfully directed is painfully tone-deaf. There are some lines spoken by Eastwood that leaves room to skeptically wonder whether anyone looked over the film script before its release. It overkills the saga of an average American old-timer who enjoys the simple things in life and looks down on the younger generation, using every opportunity to reprimand them on their dependency of the internet and their phones. The film is so obviously written by an old man
for old men.
The needlessly overstretched shots of women’s behinds shaking whilst dancing by a pool, a sex scene that you just know came out of Eastwood’s own fantasy, and the somewhat normalisation of his sexism and racism makes this film so aggressively inappropriate for 2019. The film is seemingly a dream world of Eastwood and an outlet to live out his greatest fantasies. The dialogue is corny and unrealistic and, although Earl embarks on a journey, the development of his character is scarce.
Fortunately, Bradley Cooper’s performance is a strong, much-needed refreshment to polarise Eastwood’s narcissism. However, Eastwood hogs the screen and the talent of the secondary characters seem somewhat wasted. Dianne Wiest plays his forgiving but neglected ex-wife and the potential chemistry that could have lifted the film is nowhere to be seen.
Although Eastwood is a Hollywood icon, The Mule is a desperate and failed attempt to make himself relevant in the modern age. However, despite his old age, he retains a star-like presence.
In a nutshell: An interesting story that should have been released forty years ago.