James Milstead’s review published on Letterboxd:
THE MULE (15)
D: Clint Eastwood
Warner Bros/Malpaso/Imperative/Bron Creative (Clint Eastwood, Tim Moore, Kristina Rivera, Jessica Meier, Dan Friedkin & Bradley Thomas)
W: Nick Schenk [based on the book "The Sinaloa Cartel's 90 Year Old Drug Mule" by Sam Dolnick]
DP: Yves Belanger
Ed: Joel Cox
Mus: Arturo Sandoval
Clint Eastwood (Earl Stone), Bradley Cooper (Colin Bates), Laurence Fishburne (Carl), Michael Peña (Trevino), Dianne Wiest (Mary), Ignacio Serricchio (Julio), Andy Garcia (Latón)
Despite announcing retirement from acting following 2008's Gran Torino to focus on the directorial side to his career, Clint Eastwood has stepped in front of the camera three times since, firstly for 2012's Trouble With The Curve, a cameo in 2014's American Sniper and once again for this crime drama, which would be a fine swansong for the veteran to call his final screen performance.
Based on a true story, Eastwood plays Earl Stone, a retired gardener who accepts a courier job for a group of Mexicans and becomes involved in the drugs trade. Bradley Cooper, Michael Peña & Laurence Fishburne also star as drug enforcement agents, while Dianne Wiest plays his estranged ex-wife.
The film makes some changes with the true events, notably the names of the characters, while some changes have clearly been made for dramatic purposes.
Solid acting, particularly from the wily screen veteran, but the film is probably a little too safe, lacking any big set pieces which would provide some thrills or tension.
Also, the ADR (sound recording) in some scenes sounds a little odd & echoey, but this will only really bother you if you let it.
As mentioned above. If this was the film Clint Eastwood bowed out on, it would be a fine final show.