The Mule


The Mule ★★★

Clint Eastwood already directed and starred in one swan song, 2008’s Gran Torino, which found him starring as a Korean War veteran trying to set things right in a world that no longer recognized right from wrong. In the subsequent years, he’s managed to direct 8 more films, a pace that would shame men half his age. Never one to say never, the 88-year-old has emerged from his acting retirement, compelled by Sam Dolnick’s true-crime article that appeared in The New York Times Magazine. In this adaptation, Eastwood plays Earl Stone, another Korean War veteran who’s trying to set things right during his twilight years—and he’s all-too-believable as a 90-year-old, looking and sounding more frail than you could ever envision the Man with No Name to be. And although Gran Torino writer Nick Schenk has crafted only a so-so screenplay from the material, Eastwood still manages to break your heart with an understated, pathos-filled performance as a man simply biding his time in a world where everyone is broke and working till they’re dead. Estranged from his family and facing financial ruin, Earl barely thinks twice when he’s offered easy money transporting drugs for a Mexican cartel, which sees his spotless driving record and advanced age combine to make him an invisible asset. Flush with cash, he fashions an additional role for himself: an elderly Robin Hood, he funds his granddaughter’s return to school and even saves his local VFW Post. Burdened by guilt, Earl seeks a redemption that’s always fascinated Eastwood, in a second career cap that feels more poignant than ever. (At Assembly RowBoston Common, Fenway, Seaport, South Bay and in the suburbs.)

Related Articles

Comments are closed.