The Mule Review
Clint Eastwood Bradley Cooper drama family
Mr. Eastwood produces, directs, and stars in The Mule, his latest drama. He plays 90-year-old Earl Stone, a gardener who loses his business because he hasn't kept up with the times. He's estranged from his family because he devoted almost all of his time to his business and business relations because he felt like he was better "out there, instead of the failure he was at home." Driven by his obsession to provide for others, he doesn't ask too many questions when a drug cartel takes note of his perfect record on the roads. When he does realize what he's been pulled into, it's too late. Several runs in, and he's become their most valuable mule, and also the most uncertain variable in their business. The cartel grows increasingly insecure in the trust they must place in him.
The tension of this story does not lie in whether or not he survives the drug cartel, but in his emotional journey as he debates whether or not he can look his family in the eye. From a distance, he provided for them, as well as friends, but never sticks around because he feels that he's burnt too many bridges. Gradually, he comes to accept his broken family dynamic. There's no pivotal action scene that changes his mind -- in fact I should emphasize that there is no action in this movie at all. Rather, I'd characterize the overall tenor of the film as slow, dying, and melancholy, with a style recognizable as Eastwood's.
Something tells me that this movie was a bit personal for him, since he cast his own daughter as Stone's daughter, whom he estranged by never showing up to any of her life events. Like any other human being, the themes of spending time with family must certainly weigh on the mind of a busy man like Eastwood. With that in mind, I'd encourage everyone to stop for a moment during this slower time of year to make sure that they spend more time with their loved ones.
Happy New Year.