The Mule (2018) – A Boomer and Social Criticism

For Clint Eastwood, a filmmaker and an actor as well, who is almost 90 years old, he still makes films. Age is nothing. When it late often makes the elderly shake, confusion often occurs within themselves. Not infrequently, their families deliberately get rid of them and bury them from life. Earl Stone is too fragile to survive. Becoming a war veteran no longer makes him forget that he has no more family. Earl just couldn’t provide the best for his family. More than 10 years, he has never greeted with his only daughter.

Mary (Dianne Wiest), his wife, always tries to avoid him. For Earl, he was just herself. He felt he needed a redemption, a guilty attitude that he had done in the past. In essence, he needs proof. This proof makes him almost just break bad. His meeting with a group of Mexican immigrants changed everything. Earl, like a mule, only walked hundreds of kilometers on his old truck. However, he gets a lot of wages thanks to the “simple” work.

Earl used to be a mess. However, he is now changing for the better, being able to buy a new car, but still cannot improve his family relations. He reclaimed his house that had been confiscated. He also reopened a veteran bar that had long been closed. Besides trying to win back the hearts of his family, Earl knew very well that there was no second chance.

Aside from his age nearing 90, Clint Eastwood is still a figure of himself as an insane grandfather whose guts. At the same time, he still has a heart. To stand up and even walk, he seemed to be struggling. Besides being an actor, Eastwood also acts as a director in this film. Staying in the entertainment world, especially this isn’t a country for old men, how can someone who is more than 80 years old still be able to survive? Eastwood is a maestro and his direction to this movie was so powerful. You don’t have to focused on Eastwood’s boomer characteristics. But, how does a film about a fragile grandfather still live and stand up in his style?

Eastwood, I don’t know if, in reality, is a boomer. He cursed in his style, called some minorities with an old-fashioned or racial slur, and knew nothing about the internet and smartphones. Especially if Eastwood plays a real character, it’s very relevant for him also in the present. He translated the fragile grandfather’s character with his style. Eastwood dared to meet a Mexican cartel. And well, the scenery and the tone feels like watching one of the episodes of “Breaking Bad“. However, Eastwood didn’t break bad in this movie.

“The Mule” is a crime, drama and thriller movie. However, every minute of this film is very powerful. Slowly, Eastwood directed the tone flatly brought by an interesting conflict. The meeting with DEA ​​agents, Mexico’s cartel, to Earl’s relationship between his family. It’s a movie about an inner conflict in the protagonist, about ourselves trying to defeat the ego and common sense to achieve a “love”. Yet, this movie has a charming moment as well. And besides Eastwood played as Earl, he also always jokes with his boomer humor.

This movie is very neat from the tone, storyline, and touch. Without any surprises or even action sequences, you would think a movie about the psychological inner conflict of a person would be dull or monotonous. However, Clint Eastwood, Bradley Cooper, Taissa Farmiga, and other actors play the right character with their respective portions. There is nothing to stand out because you just have to focus on Clint Eastwood as the main character. It’s not bland and also realistic. Indeed, critics attack this movie all out because of how racist Eastwood was. But, why do they complain about a real racist character? Because it’s a real character. And yeah, this is a great movie.

4 out of 5 stars.

Salman Al Farisi

An Indonesian who loves to watch and read everything. A literary student who likes to write about reviews and essays on Crackdown Review. But, I just wannabe critics who love arthouse than anything.

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