The 2018 crime drama The Mule is streaming on Netflix. The film is loosely based on the true story of Leo Sharp, an 80-year-old World War II veteran who became a drug courier for a Mexican cartel. Directed by Clint Eastwood, who also stars as the lead character, the movie features a stellar supporting cast including Bradley Cooper, Laurence Fishburne, Michael Pena, Dianne Wiest, and Andy Garcia.
Clint Eastwood As Earl Stone
The Mule follows Earl Stone (Clint Eastwood), a horticulturist and war veteran facing financial ruin while grappling with the consequences of neglecting his family in pursuit of success. Faced with mounting debts and a strained relationship with his daughter, Stone gets an offer from the Mexican drug cartel that could alter the course of his twilight years forever.
As Stone navigates the treacherous terrain of drug smuggling, he remains blissfully unaware of the law enforcement agencies closing in on him. The Mule introduces DEA agents Colin Bates (Bradley Cooper) and Trevino (Michael Pena), who relentlessly pursue the cartel. Earl’s unsuspecting nature, coupled with Eastwood’s compelling portrayal, adds a layer of complexity to the plot.
Redemption, Family, And Moral Ambiguity
One of The Mule’s strengths lies in its exploration of moral ambiguity. Despite Earl Stone’s criminal activities, Eastwood crafts a character that audiences can empathize with. His age, vulnerability, and the underlying desperation that led him to his predicament elicit a complex range of emotions, prompting audiences to question the boundaries between right and wrong.
The Mule also touches upon themes of redemption, family, and the consequences of life choices. Earl Stone’s journey becomes a reflection of the human condition, illustrating that it is never too late to seek redemption or repair fractured relationships. From a cinematic perspective, Eastwood’s direction contributes significantly to the film’s impact, infusing the story with authenticity and gravitas.
At The Box Office
The Mule achieved notable success at the box office, earning over $174 million following its December 2018 release in the United States. The move also received generally positive reviews, with critics calling it “poignant and charming” while praising Eastwood’s performance as the aged protagonist caught in the throes of the criminal underworld.
Reception And Accolades
The film holds a rating of around 70 percent on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, alongside a 66 percent audience score. The screenplay for The Mule was written by Nick Schenk, who previously collaborated with Clint Eastwood on 2008’s Gran Torino. Eastwood also produced the project under his Malpaso Productions banner.
Clint Eastwood, who was 88 years old at the time of filming, became the most senior actor ever to be nominated for a Best Actor Academy Award for his role in The Mule. The film also features a real DEA agent, Jeff Moore, who plays the role of DEA Agent Brown. Bradley Cooper previously worked with Eastwood on American Sniper in 2014.
Clint Eastwood Today
After The Mule, Eastwood remained prolific in front of and behind the camera. In 2019, he directed the biographical drama Richard Jewell, which tells the real-life story of a security guard who was wrongly accused of planting a bomb during the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. The film earned positive reviews for its acting and Eastwood’s direction.
In 2021, three years after The Mule, Eastwood directed and starred in the drama film Cry Macho. Based on the 1975 novel of the same name by N. Richard Nash, the film follows an old rodeo star who is hired to bring a young boy home from Mexico. His directing next project is Juror No. 2, a thriller starring Nicholas Hoult and Toni Collette.
The story follows a juror serving on a murder trial who realizes he may be responsible for the victim’s death. Along with Nicholas Hoult and Toni Collette, Juror No. 2 boasts a talented supporting cast that includes Gabriel Basso, Zoey Deutch, Kiefer Sutherland, Leslie Bibb, and Chris Messina.
The Mule Is Streaming On Netflix
While Eastwood has shifted his focus more towards directing movies like The Mule in recent years, his contributions as an actor have left an indelible mark on Hollywood. His work has earned him numerous accolades, including Academy Awards for Best Director and Best Picture for Unforgiven in 1992 and Million Dollar Baby in 2004.
The Mule serves as a continuation of that success and is a must-watch for fans of good storytelling.