Released 12/14/2018 Rated: R
I can almost count the number of movies both starring and directed by Clint Eastwood I’ve seen on one hand. It’s mostly his more recent stuff. There’s no special reason for that, his films were just never on in my house. The trailer for The Mule didn’t look bad, but it didn’t particularly entice me either. If I had to pick a genre that I’m generally indifferent toward it’d be dramas. However, I happened to enjoy this one.
It’s a lot lighter than the trailer made it seem to be. It’s not a comedy or anything, but it’s definitely not as heavy as his movies tend to turn out. Estranged from his family and unable to continue growing flowers, Earl has an opportunity fall into his lap. A chance to earn money doing what he does best: driving. At first it’s just a one-time thing, but then more and more people around him need money. Wanting to help them out, Earl agrees to go on more runs and eventually learns what it is he’s been driving across the country. Yet despite the cops hunting him down and the boss’s power changing hands, we’re mostly hanging out with a chill Clint Eastwood. He’s cracking jokes with the local cops, helping people stranded on the side of the road with a smile, singing along to the old-timey radio station, and just enjoying life because he’s happiest on the road doing something he loves to be able to help those around him. It almost feels like we’re following Eastwood around and then the rest of it is the movie.
All in all I’d recommend it. Earl feels like a genuine person. He’s a flawed character. At this point in his life he knows what he’s done wrong but he’s taking small steps to try to make up for his years of familial neglect. It’s got heart which I didn’t expect but very much appreciated.