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The Mule

The movie is based on a 2014 New York Times Magazine feature by Sam Dolnick and follows Earl Stone (Eastwood), a man in his 80s who is broke, alone, and facing foreclosure of his business when he is offered a job that simply requires him to drive — easy enough. But unbeknownst to Earl, he’s signed on as a drug courier for a Mexican cartel, and also hit the radar of hard-charging DEA agent Colin Bates (Cooper).
Author Review
United StatesUnited States M
Peter Debruge
"A problematic character that director Clint Eastwood knows exactly how to make charming (...) 'The Mule' could do better where its identity politics are concerned, and that’s perhaps the biggest letdown"  NEU
United StatesUnited States M
Todd McCarthy
The Hollywood Reporter
"Engaging, humorous and, it would seem, quite personal (...) There is visual vitality here resulting from the first collaboration between the director and Canadian cinematographer Yves Belanger"  POS
United StatesUnited States M
Richard Roeper
Chicago Sun-Times
"It’s about as cozy and comfortable and light as a film about a criminal can be (...) It’s an entertaining enough offbeat crime comedy/drama featuring an amazing cast (…) Rating: ★★★ (out of 4)"  POS
United StatesUnited States M
David Ehrlich
"Clint Eastwood’s best movie in more than 25 years (...) A poignant, funny, and thrilling work of self-commentary"  POS
United StatesUnited States M
Richard Brody
The New Yorker
"Eastwood is one of the great political filmmakers. In 'The Mule,' he reveals his own scars, his own failings (...) It’s a vigorous movie of outliving old beliefs, looking back at them regretfully"  POS
United StatesUnited States M
Joe Blessing
The Playlist
"'The Mule' probably isn’t great or even good, but it has a way of coming back to charm you just when you were ready to give up (...) It doesn’t work when it should and it does work when it shouldn’t"  NEU
United StatesUnited States M
Chris Nashawaty
Entertainment Weekly
"It’s a surprisingly fun and mellow movie (...) With a lean and economical script by Nick Schenk (...) 'The Mule' fits the 88-year-old Eastwood perfectly"  POS
United StatesUnited States M
Robert Abele
The Wrap
"[Eastwood] knows how to tell an entertaining crime saga that keeps the pain, confusion, and moral quandaries front and center (...) Earl is, on some level, the perfect part for the 88-year-old legend"  POS
United StatesUnited States M
David Edelstein
"Eastwood’s direction is lean, brisk, and pointedly unfussy. The casting is spot-on (...) 'The Mule' would be a small potatoes without the lift it gets from Eastwood’s mythic persona"  POS
United StatesUnited States M
Jesse Hassenger
AV Club
"This material is not always handled gracefully (...) Eastwood treats his own star persona with even more relaxed grace than usual (...) A quietly effective ending"  NEU
United KingdomUnited Kingdom M
Benjamin Lee
The Guardian
"A strangely inelegant tale cursed with a clumsy script, uneasy politics and a lethargic pace (...) As a drama, it’s frustratingly insubstantial, failing to provide enough of an emotional centre (…) Rating: ★★ (out of 5)"  NEG
United KingdomUnited Kingdom M
Tim Grierson
"While this defiantly unflashy film may similarly feel out of step, long on mawkishness and short on dynamic, arresting moments, the purity of its gently mournful tone stays with you"  NEU
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