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FILM REVIEW: THE MULE (15) RATING: 4/5

Robert Redford has apparently just had his acting swan song with Old Man and The Gun – and by the looks of it Clint won’t be far off doing the same.

The one thing for sure is that they’ll be sorely missed – as Clint puts on an acting and directing masterclass here.

It shows even though his physique might be showing the age of time – his brain has still got it.

He stars as 90-year-old award-winning horticulturist and ex-Korean War veteran Earl Stone who sacrificed vital family time with his wife Mary (Dianne Wiest), daughter Iris (Alison Eastwood) and now grand-daughter Ginny (Taissa Farmiga) to be a workaholic – in short a lousy husband, father and grandfather.

But now the internet has caught up with his trade, and he is now broke, alone and facing the foreclosure of his business.

That is until he’s offered a courier’s job to simply drive from point A to point B, which starts off from Texas to Chicago. At the end of his journey Earl is handsomely paid – and then some – to the tune of several thousand each time, with a pay packet left in his glove box. But Earl asks no questions and just runs with it. Happy days.

As Earl starts to gain favour with his family again – particularly with Ginny – his gig seems to be paying dividends until he realises he’s inadvertently signed on as a drug runner for a Mexican Sinaloa cartel – headed by Andy Garcia’s (The Untouchables) Laton – when he realises his boot has bags of cocaine and heroine.

But even though he coasts through on several ‘runs’ undetected due to his senior years, a new crack task force at the DEA – headed by hotshot agent Colin Bates (Bradley Cooper), his partner Trevino (Michael Pena) and overseen by their boss (Laurence Fishburne) – close in on Earl as he gets dragged deeper into the drug smuggling world.

And for the most part this is textbook Eastwood in front of, and behind, the camera. Playing out as expected with a well-conceived story, competent casting, a dry-sense of wit and production values that puts this towards the upper echelons of his nearly always-accomplished work.

In short, this never wanes from being solidly watchable throughout.

It could do with fleshing out Earl’s sour relationship with his family a bit more, and Eastwood himself falls foul of playing a stereotypical ‘the rubbish Dad’ role he has portrayed several times before – see the likes of Gran Torino and True Crime for reference – but he stills comes across as engaging nevertheless, despite veering close to previous character iterations.

Especially when singing Dean Martin’s Ain’t that a Kick in the Head. And this film definitely isn’t that and is worth smuggling a few bucks on – if only for the simple reason this could be one of Eastwood’s final pieces of work.

And that is worth the admission price alone.

Rating: 4/5

Gavin Miller

Cast: Clint Eastwood, Bradley Cooper, Dianne Wiest, Andy Garcia, Michael Pena, Taissa Farmiga, Alison Eastwood, Ignacio Serricchio & Laurence Fishburne

Running Time: 1 Hr 56 Mins

Director: Clint Eastwood

Visit www.showcasecinemas.co.uk for the latest up-to-date showtimes for movies at Showcase Cinema de Lux Peterborough. You can also join the chat on Twitter @showcasecinemas or on Facebook by searching for ‘Showcase Cinemas UK’.

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Written by ESP Magazine

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