The Mule | Salt Lake City Weekly
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  Rated R · 116 minutes · 2018

Crime drama
It has the hallmarks of a Clint Eastwood enterprise—unfussy direction, an efficient but unhurried pace, moderately entertaining but nothing special—and is, like most of his directorial output this century, loosely based on a true story. Eastwood himself plays the title character, Earl Stone, a successful Illinois horticulturalist and failed husband and father who, having his lost his business to the internet, earns cash by transporting drugs in his pickup truck from El Paso back to Chicago. Earl is surprised when he learns on the third or fourth drive that his cargo is narcotic in nature—what did he think it was?)—but the film doesn't even think to ask what his thought process is after that, how an 80-something war veteran and upstanding citizen rationalizes breaking the law. Sure, non-introspective characters are another Eastwood hallmark, but it’s a liability when there’s nothing else to hang the movie on; DEA agents played by Bradley Cooper and Michael Peña are closing in on the cartel, but there’s little attempt at suspense. Eastwood just ambles along, complaining about the internet and cellphones, being folksy-ly racist, telling what should have been a fascinating story in a rather pointless way.
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Director: Clint Eastwood
Producer: Clint Eastwood, Tim Moore, Kristina Rivera, Jessica Meier, Dan Friedkin, Bradley Thomas, Ruben Fleischer, Dave Bernad, Todd Hoffman and Aaron Gilbert
Cast: Clint Eastwood, Bradley Cooper, Laurence Fishburne, Michael Peña, Dianne Wiest, Andy Garcia, Alison Eastwood, Taissa Farmiga, Ignacio Serricchio, Loren Dean, Eugene Cordero, Clifton Collins Jr., Lobo Sebastian, Manny Montana, Noel G. and Robert LaSardo

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Chicago Reader Vox Lux and The Mule present two very different responses to our nation’s ills While one finds only despair, the other argues that we’re still capable of kindness, despite the terrible things we do. by Ben Sachs 12/21/2018

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