Clint Eastwood’s latest sees him take on the real life story of Earl Stone, a 90-something year old who was caught transporting an estimated $3 million worth of cocaine.
Eastwood is no stranger to true-life stories of course, having directed The 15:17 To Paris and Sully, here he directs from a script by Nick Schenk (“Gran Torino”, “Narcos (TV)”).
Primarily, Stone (Eastwood), is a driver. He drives from point A, a tyre garage somewhere, to point B, a motel somewhere, with varying quantities of drugs. Stone doesn’t ask what he’s transporting or why, he just does.
That alone a great film does not make however and so Schenk and Eastwood add a backstory to Stone, they give him an ex-wife and a daughter who hasn’t spoken to him for 12-years.
Stone was never around when his daughter was growing up, always on the road with his plants for he was a horticulturist. They couldn’t understand his love of plants, and he couldn’t explain it.
As the internet hits, Stone finds his business surplus to requirements but a chance encounter at his grandkids engagement party sees him become a mule for the cartel. As an old man with no points, who has never been stopped, he’s the perfect mule.
Eastwood, looking older than ever, is great as Stone. He still manages to inject some sass into the character. As a veteran of the Korean War, when a young cartel punk points a gun at him, Stone just shrugs it off.
Chasing Stone is DEA officer Colin Bates, Bradley Cooper (“Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2”, “American Sniper”), and Michael Pena (“Ant-Man And The Wasp”, “CHiPS“), with Laurence Fishburne (“Passengers“, “John Wick: Chapter 2“), as their boss.
The DEA manage to bag themselves a snitch who begins to put them on the trail of the mules, Stone stands out as he’s now the best performing, shifting larger and larger quantities across the country.
As Stone keeps collecting all this money, he begins to see more and more of his family, not showering them with gifts or anything, just having time to spend with them. But he realises, and they tell him too, that he needn’t be rich for him to be in their lives.
Eventually, things catch up with Stone, and by things I mean the DEA. For all we know, for the film doesn’t tell us, everyone else from the cartel gets away, it’s just Stone who gets to pay the price.
The Mule is a decent enough film, it’s no Gran Turino, but for a film that is primarily about an old-man driving his truck from point A to point B, it does just fine