A complicated man, a look into ‘The Mule’

Recommendation: 3/5 Stars, STREAM

Plot: “A 90-year-old horticulturist and Korean War veteran is caught transporting $3 million worth of cocaine through Illinois for a Mexican drug cartel,” according to IMDB.

Review: Clint Eastwood movies all have something in common — throughout, they carry a certain grit, grime and unapologetic attitude.

His study of Earl Stone, a 90-year old horticulturist, is no different. Earl is a complicated man devoted to his work, absent from his family and focused on being the best but the economy and the rise of the internet changes things for Mr. Stone.

Circumstances and a chance meeting provide a new opportunity as a drug mule running product for a Mexican cartel; a job Earl takes without a second thought. When wrapped together in a package, the film sticks true to the Eastwood format.

The dialogue in this film can, at times, feel emblematic. It can also feel forced as if it was meant to shock you for no other reason than to shock. If you shook your head at the racist and narrow-minded things Eastwood uttered in “Gran Torino,” well get ready to have your head involuntarily moving once again. This writing is supposed to root us in the shoes of a man who time has passed by, but for me, it served as a distraction from what was a compelling story about a man running drugs and the interests of the leaders he serves.

Bradley Cooper serves as a tool to ground this entire film. Playing an FBI agent who is breathing down the neck of Earl as he crisscrosses the country, we get a sense of why it was so hard to stop a 90-year drug mule. In many ways, the FBI was oblivious to the fact that this kind of person could be capable of such a thing. As we approach the center of the film, we get the sense that Earl could do this forever, that is until betrayal at the highest levels of the cartel spells disaster.

When Earl meets his new leaders, we know the end is near. We know Earl will be caught. This creates two questions: When and what loose ends will he tie up before the end. The first question takes longer than expected to be answered, because of the depth of his involvement. The second question means Earl making amends to his family. These scenes are the most powerful of the film. They leave you with a singular thought; the only thing worse than being a late bloomer is not blooming at all.

With each Clint Eastwood film, he defies time and our expectations. More often than not, I applaud his commitment. For me, this film missed the mark. It is by no means bad. It deserves to be streamed from the comfort of your living room, but when compared to other films in his illustrious career, it was quite average.

Be good to each other.

More in Life

Photo courtesy of Patrick Dodd
                                Patrick Dodd and his father, Stan Dodd, at Hannegan Pass, Cooper Lake Trail. After Stan Dodd died in 2019, Patrick decided to dedicate 2020 to hiking and raising money to Fred Hutch Cancer Research Center.
He lost his dad, now he hikes for him

Local man turns to nature, blogging to fund cancer research

January’s Rotary Youth of the Month

Rotary members recognize three Renton School District high school students each month… Continue reading

Photo by Haley Ausbun. Have you visited the Highlands new brewhouse? The new Bickersons Brewhouse opened on Nov. 9. Two months later, Jan. 9, business leaders and the Renton Chamber of Commerce celebrated its opening with a ribbon cutting, featuring owners Frank Castro and Shaunn Siekawitch. Go bicker with the “Bickersons” at 4710 NE Fourth St., Renton.
Ribbon cut for new Renton brewhouse

Photo by Haley Ausbun. Have you visited the Highlands new brewhouse? The… Continue reading

Photo courtesy of BRAGG Project
                                REACH Center of Hope Volunteer Coordinator Kinza Shafir and BRAGG Founder Ezra Lucien, 9.
For this local kid, Christmas is like running a nonprofit

Nine-year-old Ezra Lucien runs BRAGG project to help other children

Council gives Persson long, duly earned goodbye

Don Persson retires long Renton career

Photo courtesy of Handsome Devil Ink. Owners Maggie and Ryan Hammond with Bad Santa (center) at their annual Bad Santa Food Drive.
Bad Santa’s good charity

Local tattoo shop collects 800 pounds of food

Renton lights up for the holidays

A guided map to some of the best holiday lights in the city

Jewish students learn how to make menorahs

Home Depot partners with Renton Jewish Center for holiday projects

On Saturday, Dec. 14, 15 students were paired with Renton Police Department officers who volunteered their mornings to each kid’s family wish list at 2019 Shop with a Cop.
Renton kids get to holiday shop thanks to local police

The large police presence at The Landing Target was no crime response,… Continue reading

Photo by Haley Ausbun. Evergreen City Ballet dancers rehearsing at the Meydenbauer Center Theatre in Bellevue, Dec. 4.
From Evergreen’s Cavalier to Broadway and back home again

Artistic Director Bennyroyce Royon introduces himself with “The Nutcracker”

Luck be Renton’s lady

Chamber of commerce ends the year in style

Firefighters ring the bell for donations

Photo by Haley Ausbun. Renton Regional Fire Authority Firefighters volunteered to ring… Continue reading