The Mule shows us that age does not necessarily have to be a limit on one’s talent or career. Look at Clint Eastwood, who at age 88 , directed and stars in this film. The story, based on true events, is about a 90-year old WWII veteran, who has a successful business and falls on hard times.
Eastwood is Earl Stone, a horticulturist who has a talent and a passion for growing beautiful flowers. His gardens and his clients have made him quite wealthy. Personally, he is very generous and friendly to people around him — his workers, customers, buddies, etc. That is, except his family. He ignores his ex-wife (Dianne Wiest) and his daughter, (Alison Eastwood), but is loving to his teenage granddaughter, (Taissa Farmiga).
His daughter is especially hostile to him because he never showed up for her wedding; too busy with the flowers, he said.
Then, fast forward 10 years and he is broke, his business has failed and he is ousted from his home on foreclosure terms. As Earl is getting into his old, beat up, beloved pickup truck one afternoon, he is approached by a Mexican fellow who suggests he can make a good buck driving some goods from Texas to Chicago.
Earl sees the opportunity to make a few bucks and he accepts the offer. He is sent to a warehouse in Texas and workers there load his truck with some duffel bags.
Earl is ordered to not open the bags, and he is given the procedure to follow when he gets to the destination in Chicago. He has no trouble making the delivery and finds an envelope with a very large amount of money for him. It isn’t until later, after about five such deliveries, that he discovers he is transporting huge bundles of cocaine in the duffel bags.
The Mexican cartel he is helping always keep an eye on him and take pains to track his moves every hour. The head of the cartel, a Mexican ‘lord’ named Laton (Andy Garcia), decides Earl is an asset and befriends him.
On the other side, the Federal authorities know this is going on, but have not been able to put a stop to it. Bradley Cooper is the agent in charge of the pursuit. His assistant is Michael Peña and his boss is Laurence Fishburne.
We follow Earl through these activities over a period of time. The Mule is not particularly slow or too long, but it does seem like the plot does get repetitive. Clint Eastwood’s performance is good, as good as most of his other films and he plays the role as in many of his other films.
As The Mule winds down, Earl is now very rich and tries to reconcile with his family. His wife is sick and they have a touching moment together when he comes to see her.
All the performances in The Mule are satisfactory, but not what I consider outstanding.
The Mule is at the Harkins Sedona 6 Theater.