Directed by: Clint Eastwood
Starring: Clint Eastwood, Bradley Cooper, Manny Montana
Clint Eastwood is not only an actor, but a director I truly adore and is rarely disappointed by. His directing credits are amazing and he always knows how to give that true cinematic experience just from the opening credits.
Eastwood plays a 90 year old horticulturist and Korean War veteran named Earl who is faced with money and family problems. He was one of those fathers who put his work before his family. At his granddaughter’s party, he is approached with a job offer where he gets to do what he does best… drive. With this drive, he transports a package to the Mexican drug cartel through Illinois. All he has to do is transport the packages from A to B. Gaining the big bucks which helps him take a little step closer to his family and help his community, he gets caught up with the big guns which ultimately gets him caught.
The story is an incredible journey about trust, doing what you love (driving… not drug trafficking), making amends and enjoying what’s left of life. It was also inspired by the New York Times Magazine Article “The Sinaloa Cartel’s 90-Year Old Drug Mule” by Sam Dolnick. But I tell you what; Eastwood had a great time with this one.
I can’t tell you the last time I had seen Eastwood in so much action. I’m talking threesomes; women in general, pulled pork sandwiches and casual racism which always came out politically incorrect but to be honest it gave the character of Earl that realism. Everyone knows someone of that age who comes out with that kind of stuff very bluntly. You let it slide because you know they’re old, ignorant and from a different time so you accept it, ignore it and move on. It did make me chuckle a few times though because I was in shock but it was harmless.
Unlike Robert Redford in 2018’s ‘The Old Man and the Gun’, Earl doesn’t have an extraordinary amount of dialogue as he doesn’t really have much to say (a typical Eastwood character). They both played on their strengths but in this case, it came in handy because you do get a little worried with what Earl is about to say next. Will it be offensive? There was just no filter whatsoever.
Eastwood, who is now hitting the back end of 88, does look more frail but he’s super charming, sings along to his car stereo and has a good heart. He also gives out great advice from his past mistakes and it makes you sympathise with his character. What I did wish we had more of was a relationship between himself and Bradley Cooper’s characters.
Cooper, Michael Peña and Laurence Fishburne played the DEA agents who were after Earl. Scenes kept cutting back and forth between the DEA and where Earl was going next, but we only get one real meeting between Cooper and Eastwood where he realises who Cooper is. Here I was hoping for maybe another meeting, something more intense and threatening. Cooper’s character wasn’t hungry enough to catch the mule. I imagined it to be more like Michael Scofield and Alex Mahone from Prison Break where it was literally consuming his life to catch Scofield. A real cat and mouse chase.
All in all, it’s pretty much what you’d expect from a Clint Eastwood film and I enjoyed it thoroughly. It boasted a great cast, was filmed beautifully and shall now be added to his list as probably the most risqué film he’s done in the last 35 years.