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You could argue that The Mule, the latest film from Clint Eastwood, is a perfect match of directing style and material. Ninety-year-old Earl Stone (Eastwood, in his first lead role since Gran Torino) has spent a lifetime driving across America, and has not accrued so much as a single speeding ticket. He’s a safe pair of hands on the wheel. So safe that the Mexican cartel that employs him as a drugs mule is willing to overlook his age and his unscheduled detours. Eastwood’s approach to the material is similarly solid and leisurely. The film, which is based on a true story, chugs along like a Sunday driver taking the scenic route. It’s perfectly watchable but a film with this puttering pace is never going to get the blood racing.
Earl is a man who in trying to correct his past mistakes makes other, far bigger ones. He chose his work as a horticulturist over his wife and children. In a neat irony, he specialised in day lilies, the most ephemeral of flowers, while assuming that his untended family was permanent. He’s a man out of his time, bamboozled by technology and prone to inadvertent racism. And while Eastwood is more self-aware, there’s a sense that, in his approach to sexual politics at least, he too is a man who is rather detached from contemporary mores.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: The Mule review – crime in the slow lane | Clint Eastwood