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The Mule (dir. Eastwood)

Image: Clint Eastwood and Alison Eastwood in The Mule © Property of Warner Bros. Pictures [Source: IMDB]

★☆☆☆☆

After his latest train wreck The 15:17 To Paris. Eastwood sits back into the director’s chair on, yet another inspired by true events story of an ageing veteran caught in financial trouble. Getting a rather contrived job offer and with no hesitation, this ninety-year-old man runs drugs for the cartel.

Director: Clint Eastwood. Starring: Clint Eastwood, Bradley Cooper, Laurence Fishburne [15]

It’s a shame that Eastwood does very little to give meaningful introspective to this character on why he does this job as opposed to something of legal means. Which leaves it all feeling forced. Contrived is the word to summarise this film. While it is admirable that Eastwood is still producing work at his age, the forced vanity of Eastwood pushing out half baked work is echoed throughout the entire project. The way in which Eastwood directs these stories is outright insufferable, full of embarrassing caricatures with equally embarrassing performances. It seems the iconic actor himself has lost all passion or care for the craft as the performances here are ready to keel over. Much the same can be said of the plot structure and pacing. Flat and artistically void with themes and comments on modern society coming across exactly how they are; like a grandad who just doesn’t get it telling you to stop looking at your phone so much. Just about the only thing keeping you from sleep is the secondary plot of Bradley Cooper’s DEA agent attempting to catch members of the Cartel. But even this strand of the plot, is just dropped in quickly with even quicker scenes that fill no purpose than to give some tension to the film.

With this threading some kick into the story, you’re able to keep your attention from drifting completely and there are some moments worth merit. It’s clear that Eastwood can still control character, with little gestures and evident pieces of direction in scenes adding humouring flourishes that make these characters just a little less insufferable and feel more interesting. Still though, Eastwood rather than demonstrating a quiet reflection to his films as of late. Seems to just parade his personal politics in our face while he attempts to get hip with the younger generation. If he was not so concerned with pushing out these films with no craft to them, it is easy to see that finding a juicy topic that he can take his time creating a film on, as is the case with {American Sniper} and {Sully}, Eastwood has still got lots of life and creativity in him. It’s just a shame some of it was expensed making this.

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