A writer named Sam Dolnick wrote a fascinating story in the New York Times magazine about a 90-year-old guy who supplemented his retirement income by running drugs for the Mexican Narcotraficantes. Clint Eastwood, 88, found out about it and Hollywood writer Nick Schenk prepared the screenplay for this compelling tale based on a true story. Schenk also wrote the script for the acclaimed “Gran Torino,” another Eastwood project.
The “frame” for the film is the elderly guy who runs cocaine for the drug lords. For me, though, it is about love, second chances and the idea that neither of them has a time stamp on it. The 90-year-old protagonist uses the last part of his life to make bad choices, be as foolish as a teen and to regret his unfortunate life decisions and to make amends where he could. This film will touch you. It will also make you smile and even laugh, I didn’t expect that.
Andy Garcia, Clint’s daughter Alison Eastwood, Laurence Fishburne and the wonderfully talented Bradley Cooper back Eastwood up as cast members. Cooper shines here as he always does. He may well be nominated for a Best Actor Oscar for “A Star is Born” and another for Best Supporting Actor for his work in “The Mule.” Also serving we have Michael Pena who worked with Eastwood in “Million Dollar Baby” and with Cooper in “American Hustle.” I love the talent of the under appreciated and versatile Michael Pena.
Eastwood began in 1955 with a tiny role in “Revenge of the Creature,” a role so small that he didn’t even make the credits. His first starring role and his breakthrough moment came in 1964 with “A Fist Full of Dollars,” still a staple on TV. In 1971 he directed his first film, “Play Misty for Me,” about as far from the spaghetti westerns as it could be. Since then he has directed widely differing films like the jazz biographic “Bird,” the moving love story “The Bridges of Madison County” and one of the truly great westerns of all time, “The Unforgiven.”
Eastwood has four Oscars and another five Oscar nominations. So far. He seems to enjoy making great films at an age when many of us can only with difficulty make it to the NASCAR racetrack. Who knows what he will bring to our lives to delight us next?
“The Mule” runs nearly two hours but supports a hard R rating for very bad language in two languages and some brief nudity. Parents, please take mind of the ratings. This movie will be enjoyed by adults only. This excellent Clint Eastwood movie rates five saw blades. My movie buddy claims “The Mule” as the best film of the year. It is not crazy talk to say so.