We went to see this movie on a late Tuesday afternoon. We had the auditorium almost to ourselves. The Mule is a movie based on a true story of an old WW II veteran. It was produced and directed by Clint Eastwood. He is also the star, his first acting gig since 2012. Bradley Cooper co-stars as a DEA agent and Laurence Fishbourne as his DEA boss. Andy Garcia is the drug cartel kingpin.
Eastwood plays Earl, a 90-year-old Korean War veteran. The backstory is that he is a somewhat famous horticulturist who specializes in daylilies. His flower and bulb business is ruined by the internet and his house and farm are foreclosed on. By this point, he is long estranged from his family. During his business days, he drove all over the country and compiled a perfect driving record. Through a friend of his granddaughter, he is recruited to be a mule for a drug cartel. Old white guy, no traffic violations, perfect mule. The plan is to make one run so he can at least help pay for his granddaughter's wedding. The run goes smoothly, the money is terrific so Earl decides to make another run. He keeps finding uses for this newfound money which requires more runs. He becomes a big man again because he helps others. Even some of his family starts to come around.
He becomes a star mule and reaps the rewards of that. Then Andy Garcia gets killed and a new drug boss takes over. Also, the DEA is closing in and there are family issues to deal with. I won't spoil the last part of the movie.
As usual, Clint Eastwood and Bradley Cooper are excellent. The other actors are fine but none of them have really large parts or stood out to me. There is some violence in the movie but this is not a big shoot-em-up. There are no big car chases although there is a kind of Smokey and the Bandit scene near the end. There are a few funny lines, some tense scenes, and some poignant scenes. There is also a lot of time spent in the pick-up truck driving across America.
Eastwood plays a convincing olf fart. Not much of a stretch since he is now 88 and pretty much looks it. There aren't any real highs or lows in the story. Few if any surprises either. It's a solid story about an old guy with many regrets and a few triumphs in the end.
I think the movie is worth your time especially if you are an Eastwood fan. Not necessarily the Dirty Harry Eastwood but the Eastwood of the past couple of decades. I would rate it a solid B. Not great, not bad.