Based on the true story, “The Mule” follows an old man played by Clint Eastwood who runs a job of delivering drugs back and forth for the Mexican Cartel.
This is a movie that was inspired by the real-life events of Leo Sharp. He was a WW2 veteran and a horticulturist. It was this dangerous job that he got the nickname “El Tata.” It was also this job that Sharp became the world’s oldest drug mule ever.
While Clint Eastwood plays a different character other than Sharp, Colin Bates, he is definitely the best thing going for in this movie. His performance is pretty good and one can definitely feel the pain that he is going through. This is a man that is trying to do what he feels is the right thing to do to make amends with his estranged family.
The film does a fine job at making you care for Bates and also at certain points, sympathize with him. People will do extreme things to make others approve of them. It goes to show far you are willing to go to make your life happy and other people’s lives happier.
All of the other performances were good and some of them do deliver some funny moments in what most people would see this movie as depressing or sad. Which it can be and it does hit those certain moments fine, but it was nice for there to be some levity intermixed in there as well.
Now I will say even though the first half I did like. It established the characters and plot well, the second half, on the other hand, seemed to drag. The pace of this movie went from passable to slow.
This movie cuts in between Eastwood’s character and Bradley Cooper’s character. Seeing Eastwood’s character was more enjoyable than seeing Cooper. No disrespect, but his character’s side-story was just not interesting in the slightest. I could honestly care less of what he and Michael Pena were doing. Laurence Fishburne was there in that side story and he’s pretty forgetful. There is no reason for the movie to give backstory to Cooper’s character toward the end of the second act, to which one doesn’t care for since the very start.
One scene, in terms of cinematography, that I wanted to discuss was the party scene. A majority of this scene was the camera aimed at attractive women in bikini and nice shots of their butts. May I ask why I’m watching a crappy hip-hop video, while I should be watching a serious and down-to-earth Clint Eastwood movie? Eastwood, if you’re trying to reach the younger demographic, this is not suitable.
There are certain moments or plot elements that this movie addresses but it doesn’t really add anything. There is a moment where Eastwood is talking to one of the hothead Cartel members and he is asking why this member chose this kind of life. One can see after this scene that this Cartel member is seeing how bad his group is behaving towards this old man and it looks like he could snap at any moment to save Eastwood. But the movie doesn’t go anywhere with this and forgets it entirely.
In fact, that was pretty much how the entire Cartel in this movie was treated. The first half of the movie, like I said, was fine establishing who the characters are and what their goals are. But by the second half, the movie loses focus on the Cartel and wishes to focus more attention on Eastwood. Which Eastwood is the best part of the movie, but the way the film handles the Cartel needed to be worked on in the second half. Especially when the leader is all of a sudden shot in the back by one of his own members. This is another moment that didn’t add anything.
One last final thing that I wanted to discuss is the film’s abruptness of adding racial issues. It first begins when Eastwood is driving during his drug run and he sees a black family on the side with a flat tire. Eastwood agrees to help the family and for some reason, he non-nonchalantly says it’s nice to be helping some fellow n****s (paraphrasing). I was stunned by that, as I didn’t know that this movie was going in this particular direction. Then in the next scene, Eastwood is taking a couple Cartel members to some restaurant. While Eastwood is getting the food, the two Cartel are sitting at their table as they’re being watched by all white people. Then soon after this scene, the two Cartel were being talked by some random police officer. These scenes, once again, don’t add anything to the story or plot of the movie. Especially for these scenes, there was no indication given to us that Eastwood is “that” kind of character or any hint of racial commentary beforehand. It completely comes out of the left field.
I would still recommend this movie because this movie does deliver enough emotion and some thrills to keep one invested. As well as seeing Clint Eastwood give a good performance. But I can’t recommend it to everyone, as this movie does fall off a bit in the second half and it can be slow at times.