The Mule

The Mule

2018, R, 116 min. Directed by Clint Eastwood. Starring Clint Eastwood, Taissa Farmiga, Bradley Cooper, Laurence Fishburne, Michael Peña, Dianne Wiest.

REVIEWED By Josh Kupecki, Fri., Dec. 21, 2018

It was Dirty Harry before it was the Sergio Leone films – for me, anyway. An introduction from an obsessive stepfather whose platonic love affair was with that steely-eyed presence, that wonderfully brusque countenance that exudes a masculinity that was effortless. There was no way you were going to be Clint Eastwood, but as an archetype of a particular role model, he was it. His later films often subverted this stance of his, this mildly annoying circumspection that reveals itself to be nothing more than someone whose inability to express himself leads to often fatal ends.

And here we are with The Mule, seeing Eastwood, now in his late 80s, portraying the life of Earl, just your average regular guy who basically stumbles into running millions of dollars worth of drugs for a Mexican cartel. How’d that happen? Well, as the film (based on a New York Times story) tells it, he basically fell into it. The need for income eventually outweighs the risks, but isn’t that how it often goes? The early scenes of Earl drumming his fingers on the steering wheel, listening to Roger Miller and Willie Nelson on the radio while he's amiably trafficking in drug distribution, afford some comfort. With the requisite scenes of diners and Waffle Houses, the anticipation of his eventual fall is both something to look forward to, and yet something to lament. This man, Earl, estranged from his family (these scenes are wince-inducing at best), a man trying to course-correct his ability to connect with humanity on other people’s terms. Which is the thing here. Because Eastwood’s career is cemented in the fact that he will not budge for anyone.

But he does, he tries. For all of the film’s gloss of cartel bad guys with their elaborate and menacing facial hair, and the inevitable showdown that has to happen, this is a movie about people caught up in doing things for the wrong reasons. But Eastwood plays it cool, thankfully. It’s the best film about drug trafficking that you can take your grandparents to.

Showtimes

Mon., Jan. 21

12:05, 3:05

Tue., Jan. 22

3:05
AFA 12:05

Wed., Jan. 23

12:30, 3:30

Thu., Jan. 24

12:05, 3:05

Cinemark 20 and XD

N. I-35 & FM 1825, 512/989-8535

Cost for 3-D and XD shows is regular ticket price plus a premium.

Mon., Jan. 21

digital 4:00, 6:50, 9:50

Tue., Jan. 22

digital 12:50, 4:00, 6:50, 9:50

Wed., Jan. 23

digital 12:50, 4:00, 6:50, 9:50

Cinemark Cedar Park

1335 E. Whitestone, Cedar Park, 800/326-3264

Call theatre for complete list of movies and showtimes.

Mon., Jan. 21

digital 10:50am, 1:40, 4:35, 7:25, 10:15

Tue., Jan. 22

digital 1:40, 4:35, 7:25, 10:15

Wed., Jan. 23

digital 1:40, 4:35, 7:25, 10:15

Mon., Jan. 21

digital 10:15am, 1:15, 4:20, 7:25, 10:25

Tue., Jan. 22

digital 10:15am, 1:15, 4:20, 7:25, 10:25

Wed., Jan. 23

digital 10:15am, 1:15, 4:20, 7:25, 10:25

Cinemark Round Rock

4401 N. I-35, Round Rock, 800/326-3264

Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium. Call theatre for complete March 26-28 showtimes.

Mon., Jan. 21

digital 1:05, 3:55, 6:55, 9:50

Tue., Jan. 22

digital 1:05, 3:55, 6:55, 9:50

Wed., Jan. 23

digital 1:05, 3:55, 6:55, 9:50

Thu., Jan. 24

digital 1:05, 3:55, 6:55, 9:50

Cinemark Southpark Meadows

9900 S. I-35, 800/326-3264

Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Mon., Jan. 21

digital 1:30, 4:20, 7:05, 9:50

Tue., Jan. 22

digital 1:30, 4:20, 7:05, 9:50

Wed., Jan. 23

digital 1:30, 4:20, 7:05, 9:50

City Lights Theatre

420 Wolf Ranch Parkway, Georgetown, 512/868-9922

Mon., Jan. 21

12:55, 3:40, 6:45, 9:40

Tue., Jan. 22

12:55, 3:40, 6:45, 9:40

Wed., Jan. 23

12:55, 3:40, 6:45, 9:40

EVO Entertainment

3200 Kyle Crossing, Kyle, 512/523-9009, www.evo-entertainment.com

Mon., Jan. 21

7:55, 10:45

Tue., Jan. 22

7:55, 10:45

Wed., Jan. 23

10:20

Flix Brewhouse

2200 S. I-35, Round Rock, 512/244-3549, www.flixbrewhouse.com/round-rock

Mon., Jan. 21

CC 1:00, 10:30

Tue., Jan. 22

CC 1:00, 10:30

Wed., Jan. 23

CC 1:00, 10:30

Thu., Jan. 24

CC 1:00, 10:30

Gateway Theatre

9700 Stonelake, 512/416-5700

Discounts daily before 6pm. Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Mon., Jan. 21

CC/DVS 4:20, 5:00, 7:15, 7:45

Tue., Jan. 22

CC/DVS 4:20, 7:15

Wed., Jan. 23

CC/DVS 4:20, 7:15

Thu., Jan. 24

CC/DVS 4:20, 7:15

Hometown Cinemas

120 MLK Jr. Industrial Blvd. W, Lockhart, 512/398-4100, www.hometowncinemas.com

Mon., Jan. 21

11:30am, 2:00, 4:30, 7:05

Tue., Jan. 22

11:30am, 2:00, 4:30, 7:05

Wed., Jan. 23

11:30am, 2:00, 4:30, 7:05

Thu., Jan. 24

11:30am, 2:00, 4:30, 7:05

iPic Theaters Austin

3225 Amy Donovan Plaza, 512/568-3400, www.ipic.com

Mon., Jan. 21

11:45am, 3:45, 7:15, 10:40

Tue., Jan. 22

11:45am, 3:45, 7:15, 10:40

Wed., Jan. 23

11:45am, 3:45, 7:15, 10:40

Metropolitan

901 Little Texas, 512/447-0101

Discounts daily before 6pm. Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Mon., Jan. 21

CC/DVS 1:10, 4:00, 9:50

Tue., Jan. 22

CC/DVS 1:10, 4:00, 7:00, 9:50

Wed., Jan. 23

CC/DVS 1:10, 4:00, 7:00, 9:50

Thu., Jan. 24

CC/DVS 1:10, 4:00, 7:00, 9:50

Moviehouse & Eatery

8300 N. FM 620, Bldg. B, 512/501-3520, www.themoviehouse.com/trails/

Mon., Jan. 21

7:00, 10:15

Tue., Jan. 22

7:00, 10:15

Wed., Jan. 23

7:00, 10:15

Thu., Jan. 24

7:00, 10:15

Moviehouse & Eatery - Lantana Place

7415 Southwest Parkway, Building 7, 512/572-0770, www.themoviehouse.com/lantana/

Mon., Jan. 21

3:45, 10:30

Tue., Jan. 22

3:45, 10:30

Wed., Jan. 23

3:45, 10:30

Thu., Jan. 24

3:45

Sky Cinemas

13201 US-290, 512/457-0700, www.skycinemas.com

Mon., Jan. 21

10:40am, 3:45, 7:40

Tue., Jan. 22

1:00, 7:25

Wed., Jan. 23

1:00, 2:30, 7:25

Thu., Jan. 24

1:00, 2:30, 7:25

Mon., Jan. 21

10:40am, 4:45, 8:00, 10:50

Tue., Jan. 22

4:45, 8:00, 10:50

Wed., Jan. 23

5:00, 8:00, 10:50

Starplex 12 San Marcos

1250 Wonder World Drive, San Marcos, 512/805-8000

Mon., Jan. 21

12:15, 3:30, 6:30, 9:25

Tue., Jan. 22

12:15, 3:30, 6:30, 9:25

Wed., Jan. 23

12:15, 3:30, 6:30, 9:25

Thu., Jan. 24

12:15, 3:30, 6:30, 9:25

Westgate 11

4477 S. Lamar, 512/899-2717

Discounts daily before 6pm. Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Mon., Jan. 21

CC/DVS 11:40am, 10:15

Tue., Jan. 22

CC/DVS 11:30am, 2:10, 4:50, 10:10

Wed., Jan. 23

CC/DVS 11:30am, 2:10, 4:50, 10:10

Thu., Jan. 24

CC/DVS 11:30am, 2:10, 4:50, 10:10

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 36 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Clint Eastwood
Clint Eastwood: Good, Bad & Ugly
Clint Eastwood: Good, Bad & Ugly
Hey, at least Sondra Locke didn't show up

Marc Savlov, Aug. 31, 2012

More Clint Eastwood Films
The 15:17 to Paris
Eastwood cast innovative to re-create the Paris train attack.

Steve Davis, Feb. 16, 2018

Sully
Eastwood's film tells the story of the "miracle on the Hudson"

Marc Savlov, Sept. 9, 2016

More by Josh Kupecki
A Bread Factory, Part One
Part one of Patrick Wang's epic satire of small-town art life

Dec. 28, 2018

A Bread Factory, Part Two
Part two of Patrick Wang's esoteric examination of art in Upstate New York

Dec. 28, 2018

KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

The Mule, Clint Eastwood, Clint Eastwood, Taissa Farmiga, Bradley Cooper, Laurence Fishburne, Michael Peña, Dianne Wiest

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle