The only scene that feels relevant to our current cultural moment is when Cooper’s Colin and his partner, Agent Trevino (Michael Peña), are trying to track down the mule and are randomly pulling over black pickup trucks. What could be wrong with that? He’s too busy driving around the country to various exhibitions, conventions, and competitions, and although he has a thriving farm, he’a also the kind of asshole who misses his daughter’s wedding. Rightfully so! Eastwood clearly called in every favour: Bradley Cooper, Andy Garcia, Laurence Fishburne and his own daughter Alison all show up for a few thankless, one-note roles. It's as if they're completely harmless, because Earl's just a curmudgeonly old timer who just doesn't know better. (Schenk also wrote Eastwood's "Gran Torino.") With this, as well as Eastwood's misguided non-fiction/narrative hybrid "The 15:17 to Paris" from earlier this year, it seems Warner Bros. is in the business of handing the movie legend a few million bucks every now and then. Turns out that Grandpa was a drug mule all along, and he’s swept up in a bust by ambitious DEA Agent Colin Bates (Bradley Cooper, continuing to work with Eastwood, for some damn reason), who Earl had actually met at a motel and who he had previously lectured about not working too hard. Aside from his estranged wife and daughter, the only other women in the film are sex workers, not that they have any lines. Eastwood is known for his ruthless efficiency as a filmmaker, but "The Mule" feels dashed off at best, barely even a movie. Regardless, hundreds of people are responsible for "The Mule," who very much should have known better than to release this bizarre, offensive debacle. Or does he? As much as he grouses about Mexicans, Earl grumbles about cellphones, too. That man’s fear of being shot by police was the most real thing The Mule offered, and yet Eastwood’s directing and Schenk’s screenplay almost try to play it for laughs. There is another contender! You have permission to edit this article. The film is a fairly straightforward adaptation of the true story, but the racist cultural stereotypes and truly appalling treatment of women is all thanks to Schenk and Eastwood. then {{format_dollars}}{{start_price}}{{format_cents}} per month. At the behest of his granddaughter’s pal, he shows up to a tire shop hoping to get paid to drive. The group of Mexican men he encounters loads his truck with duffel bags and a burner phone and send him on his way. Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device. They pass one tan, bearded man wearing a cowboy hat in a truck, decide to pull it over, and are subjected to his anxious babbling about being terrified of being shot by police. They nickname him Tata, they say he’s “pimpin,’” they teach him how to text, they tell him about their kids and their nieces and their nephews and their wives, and blah blah blah look at this great old white man being nice to these gangsters! The only person who emerges relatively unscathed is Dianne Wiest as Earl's ex-wife. rights reserved. Women are either nags or whores in "The Mule," with absolutely no agency. “The Mule” is adapted by screenwriter Nick Schenk from a New York Times Magazine article, “The Sinaloa Cartel’s 90-year Old Drug Mule” by Sam Dolnick. The camera is more focused on their rear ends than anything else. Because of how much he prioritizes job over family. THE MULE RACIST CRACKA GETS FOOLED - Duration: 2 minutes, 11 seconds. But by the end of the boring, racist melodrama that is "The Mule," thinking twice doesn't even seem worth the effort. At the behest of his granddaughter's pal, he shows up to a tire shop hoping to get paid to drive. “The Mule” is adapted by screenwriter Nick Schenk from a New York Times Magazine article, “The Sinaloa Cartel’s 90-year Old Drug Mule” by Sam Dolnick. Buy a Pajiba T-Shirt at the Pajiba Store. But by the end of the boring, racist melodrama that is “The Mule,” thinking twice doesn’t even seem worth the effort. I’ve become a drug mule for the cartel. The screenplay, by Nick Schenk, is based on the 2014 The New York Times article "The Sinaloa Cartel's 90-Year-Old Drug Mule" by Sam Dolnick, which recounts the story of Leo Sharp, a World War II veteran who became a drug courier for the Sinaloa Cartel in his 80s. J entertainment. Well, whatever you did, you didn’t have to get rich for us to want you around. Yes, its greatest flaws are its expectedly racist and sexist undertones, but also, holy shit, The Mule is fucking boring. With this, as well as Eastwood’s misguided nonfiction/narrative hybrid “The 15:17 to Paris” from earlier this year, it seems Warner Bros. is in the business of handing the movie legend a few million bucks every now and then. to colleagues, clients or customers, or inquire about Because like, Colin could end up being Earl. To order copies of It’s easy enough work for the envelopes of cash he receives, and the elderly white Earl goes undetected by police, especially when he rambles at them about pecans and caramelized corn. Toronto Star articles, please go to: www.TorontoStarReprints.com. There is no believable drama here, no narrative forward motion. The Mule is unrelentingly tedious. The script by Nick Schenk, based on the New York Times story “The Sinaloa Cartel’s 90-Year-Old Drug Mule” by Sam Dolnick, suggests that Earl at first had no idea what he was transporting. Was that storytelling not blatant enough for you? The story starts in 2005, when Earl Stone (Eastwood) is a champion horticulturist, a specialist in daylily flowers, who grumbles about the Internet and drinks a little too much and ignores his wife, daughter, and granddaughter. This is a recurring theme throughout The Mule, that while Earl may say racist and sexist things, he’s really just a nice old man that we have to accept as a product of another time, when people weren’t looking at their phones constantly and ignoring each other. It's like you were born to be deported." He makes a scene at his granddaughter’s (Taissa Farmiga) pre-wedding party and catches the eye of young Rico (Victor Rasuk), who in the space of approximately 15 seconds thinks to himself, “Oh shit, maybe this old grump will want to be a drug mule!”. Tribune News Service (TNS). presentation-ready copies of Toronto Star content for distribution There’s an interesting anti-capitalist strain here, but then you remember who made it and think twice. Or does he? It’s a strange rough draft, poorly executed and disastrously performed, despite the starry cast. You can follow her on Twitter. By Roxana Hadadi | Film | December 21, 2018 |. And although I’m not sure most Clint Eastwood fans care at this point what liberal elites like myself think of the one-time great American actor’s directorial efforts, I suppose there must have been some trepidation regarding how The Mule would be received. Then, Jose and Earl laugh, which is how all of Earl's many wildly racist remarks are treated in "The Mule." The Mule is a 2018 American crime drama film produced and directed by Clint Eastwood, who also plays the lead role. Women are either nags or whores in “The Mule,” with absolutely no agency. ), is murdered by his second in command (Clifton Collins Jr., for whom I always want more). Enjoy more articles by logging in or creating a free account. That doesn't mean they also have to make us watch the damn things —which are at the least totally unwatchable, and at the worst, completely irresponsible. Fast-forward 12 years later, when his farm is in foreclosure, the women in his life are gone, and Earl is basically a mess. Earl's life of crime starts with the World Wide Web, which decimates his daylily empire. The new head of the cartel doesn’t like how Earl takes breaks and gets food and sleeps with prostitutes during runs (the old man really has a thing for threesomes), and so he about loses his damn mind when Earl disappears for a week after learning that his ex-wife Mary (Dianne Wiest) is dying of cancer. permissions/licensing, please go to: www.TorontoStarReprints.com. Someone should call his cardiologist, he jokes as they climb onto his body. Because this movie is bad! He was just driving, singing along to Frank Sinatra, and receiving increasingly larger envelopes full of cash. Colin and Trevino are both bemused by this, and they expect the man to speak Spanish, and he doesn’t, and they expect the man to have drugs in his car, and he doesn’t, and eventually they apologize and drive away. The camera is more focused on their rear ends than anything else. You know how in The Wire, Marlo says, “You want it to be one way, but it’s the other way”? But by the end of the boring, racist melodrama that is "The Mule," thinking twice doesn't even seem worth the effort. It’s like you were born to be deported.” Then José and Earl laugh, which is how all of Earl’s many wildly racist remarks are treated in “The Mule.” It’s as if they’re completely harmless, because Earl’s just a curmudgeonly old-timer who just doesn’t know better. Cast: Clint Eastwood, Bradley Cooper, Dianne Wiest, Andy Garcia, Laurence Fishburne, Taissa Farmiga, Alison Eastwood, Michael Pena. But by the end of the boring, racist melodrama that is “The Mule,” thinking twice doesn’t even seem worth the effort.

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