The Mule, directed by and starring Clint Eastwood, is a film inspired by the story of a 90 year old man who found himself working for a Mexican drug cartel. I am a fan of a lot of Eastwood’s work, but this just made me shake my head.
Watching The Mule, I can only imagine Eastwood agreed to do it if he had complete creative control, and he used it to express to the audience his world view as a grumpy, senile old man out of touch with society. In saying that I mean both Clint, and the character. He grumbles about people using cel phones, portrays younger characters (people in their 30s and 40s) as inept, and constantly in need of his help. Nobody is immune to his amazing charm. Vicious cartel thugs mostly give him a pass, and end of treating him like a beloved uncle. On two separate occasions he entertains two ladies at one time, demonstrating both his charm and virility I suppose? Worse, he is openly racist, and it’s played like a kooky old uncle that we should just roll our eyes at. Despite being a story about drug cartels, and the trailers indicating a more serious tone, the film lacks any serious teeth, and the character faces very little in the way of consequences.
Besides Eastwood the cast includes Dianne Wiest, Bradley Cooper, Michael Pena, Andy Garcia, and Laurence Fishburne. That is a lot of heavy hitters, except here it just feels like using Navy SEALs as mall cops. I find it almost shocking so many great actors signed on to this, and I can only imagine they weren’t fully aware the direction it was headed.
Clint Eastwood has contributed a lot of great films in his career, and as I said I am a big fan of his work, but that he would be allowed to be so casually racist is unacceptable. I don’t want any more films from him, and he’a just going to tarnish his career now.