Critic Reviews



Based on 37 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
This soulful and deeply satisfying film — a fitting swansong, if ever there was one — makes a compelling argument that change is always possible, and that the path we’re on is never as narrow as the highway makes it look.
Less cranky and inciting than Gran Torino but persuasively expressive in conveying an old man's regrets along with his desire to improve himself even in late age, The Mule shows that Eastwood's still got it, both as a director and actor.
The Mule fits the 88-year-old Eastwood perfectly. Not just because there probably aren’t many roles for actors of his age out there, but also because its lack of judgment makes sense for a star who’s always been as willing to play anti-heroes as heroes.
While this defiantly unflashy film may similarly feel out of step, long on mawkishness and short on dynamic, arresting moments, the purity of its gently mournful tone stays with you.
In some ways, The Mule represents a late-period version of classic Eastwood, in that it’s even pokier and more workmanlike than his best work, and sometimes downright strange.
If you come looking for an effective drama with heavy ideas about family and justice, The Mule will likely disappoint. However, if the idea of an oddball road trip with Clint Eastwood toting a few kilos in the back sounds appealing, you’re in for a treat.
The Mule may not always stand with his most resonant work, at times betraying the awkwardness of someone set in his grizzled ways. But Eastwood’s tilled enough filmmaking soil over the years to know that the same ground can produce daylilies or contraband and that the most involving movies at least try to harvest both.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with presenting bigoted people onscreen, since heaven knows they exist in real life, but the trouble with The Mule is that it invites audiences to laugh along with Earl’s ignorance.
As a drama, it’s frustratingly insubstantial, failing to provide enough of an emotional centre or a convincing payoff.
It brings me no joy to relay this: From an irresistible “tell me more!” of a true story, Eastwood and his “Gran Torino” screenwriter Nick Schenk have made a movie that feels dodgy and false at every turn.

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