Clint Eastwood shows no signs of slowing up his acting and directing career as he plays Earl Stone, a man in his 80s who is broke and looking for something to do. He gets a job as a driver, but along the way he finds he is being used as a drug smuggler for a Mexican cartel. He’s so good at his job and so un-obvious a smuggler, his assignments and danger expands.
2160p with HDR 10, Rated R, running time: 116 minutes, Aspect ratio: 2.40:1, Audio English DTS-HD 5.1
Starring: Clint Eastwood, Bradley Cooper, Dianne Wiest, Andy Garcia, Michael Pena, Laurence Fishburne
Directed by: Clint Eastwood
What a pleasure it is to see Clint Eastwood still acting and directing at the age of 88. Over time his roles have evolved to fit his age, playing a grumpy old man in Gran Torino and now Earl Stone, a man alienated from his family who wants a quick buck delivering what turns out to be drugs.
It’s been a long way since Clint started with an uncredited role in Revenge of the Creature in 1953, through Rawhide on TV, then the Leone films in the 60s which left him an international star. He learned to direct under the steady hand of the great Don Siegel (Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Dirty Harry) and Eastwood has been a Hollywood Icon for most of his career.
The Mule is funny in spots, touching in others as Clint’s character regains his family but loses his freedom. It’s not the best I’ve seen Eastwood, but far from his worst film. (The Gauntlet, I think has that honor.)
The Mule is definitely worth seeing if you are an Eastwood fan, and non-fans will enjoy the sentimentality.
The Mule looks fine in 4K, but I wouldn’t consider it a demonstration disc. I’m sure it is true to what the theatrical release looked like, it’s just not the kind of film that is going to jump off the screen in color rendering or audio. It has a neutral character, which is I’m sure what Mr. Eastwood was looking for.
Still, it looks just fine, although it’s a 2K original upscaled to 4K. The image looks solid, and dynamic range was good in the few scenes that displayed extreme bright and shadows.
The audio is a pretty tame 5.1 mix, again, the subject matter simply doesn’t need ATMOS or anything slick. The sound is realistic, dialogue is clear, and surround appears with subtlety when the action is outside.
Extras are only on the included Blu-ray, an 11-minute making-of titled Nobody Runs Forever which doesn’t offer much insight into the ideas behind the film. There’s also a music video. I found the extras rather slim, and would have liked to see them included on the 4K disc.