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Mule, The  (DVD)


Stars: Clint Eastwood, Bradley Cooper, Lawrence Fishburne, Michael Pena, Dianne Wiest, Ignacio Serricchio, Andy Garcia, Alison Eastwood, Ray Hernandez, Lobo Sebastian, Manny Montana, Noel Gugliemi

Director: Clint Eastwood

If you assume that 88-year-old Eastwood might be just a tad too old to play a 90-year-old American horticulturist who - finding himself broke, alone and facing foreclosure - turns to crime and becomes a highly successful drug courier for a major Mexican narcotics cartel, then he's likely to prove you are an ass with this gritty, fact-based thriller.

And Eastwood, memorable as a man who, racked by his conscience over having abandoned his family, scores behind the camera as well, both as producer and, impressively as ever, as director - in which capacity he scores strongly by concentrating on character and narrative rather than showing off in the manner most adored by aspirant auteurs.

For Eastwood, the story and its telling come first, balancing the increasingly tense crime story narrative with telling emotional drama when, racked by his conscience over the family he abandoned, he struggles to reconcile with the family he abandoned with persuasive veracity and telling performances from Wiest as his former wife and - going some distance in proving that talent can be hereditary, by his on-screen daughter Iris, portrayed by his real-life daughter Alison.

No masterpiece, perhaps, but nevertheless eminently welcome entertainment.

Alan Frank

USA 2018. UK Distributor: Warner Brothers. Colour.
111 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 2, Swearing 2.

Review date: 18 Jun 2019