The Mule Does Little To Clint Eastwood’s Reputation

BThe  Mule

Starring Clint Eastwood, Bradley Cooper

Directed by Clint Eastwood

Rating: **(2 stars)

At  90, Clint Eastwood  mulishly  clings to his legendary  aura  in The Mule.From  the start  of his illustrious  career  this  grand old man  of  American cinema  has played loners, characters who would rather be  left to  themselves rather than  in  the company  of  people who would like to believe they  know  him.

In The Mule Eastwood plays Earl Stone and  guess what? He’s  90. No  effort to fudge  his age  , a crime that all male superstars are  guilty of.  Earl is a  man fighting off  irrelevance and boredom by becoming a drug carrier  .

That’s it. Nothing much happens once we know Earl’s  big secret. We know  Eastwood’s character  is  despised  by his  estranged wife(Dianne Wiest, a superb actress whom we are delighted to see after a long gap) . She  spares  no effort to  remind him of how callous he has  been to the family.  Beyond these  cursory details  the  film probes none  of those mortal  insecurities which would make  a law-abiding man  turn to crime at the end of life.

Surprisingly  in spite  of  its 90-year protagonist  The Mule is not a meditation  on mortality. Whether  you  wish to regard this  absence  of rumination  to be  a  virtue or not  is entirely a matter  of  choice. As far as  Esatwood’s  character is concerned death can go fly a kite with Mary Poppins.

Clint  has always played variations of himself  on screen. This time he’s playing a version  of  the sulky  star who probably turns down requests for selfies from fans .What’s surprisingly is the presence here  of  Bradley Cooper  during a year when he has attained a new level of stardom in A Star Is Born, appearing in The Mule as  a cop in pursuit  of a drug cartel. It is a role as trite as the one played by Ranvor Shorey  in  the recent web series Rangbaaz. And Cooper does nothing to elevate  the  character  from his cesspool of boredom.

This  is a film that does nothing for its accomplished actors  except to remind them that being  part of a  film made strictly to  humour its leading man’s penchant for self renewal(in one particularly embarrassing sequence  Eastwood,all of 90, is seen  making out with two young women who evidently enjoy the kink before the sink) is  a tenable place to be in.Even if the audience doesn’t quite agree with you.

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