The Mule Movie Ending Explained (In Detail)

Spoilers Alert:

Clint Eastwood stages himself once again. In THE MULE In a roundabout way, he becomes a drug dealer who doesn’t fit into this world at all – and that’s exactly why he’s so good at what he does. We’ll reveal in our review whether this also applies to Eastwood himself.

The Plot Summary

Earl Stone (Clint Eastwood) is a man in his eighties who, heavily in debt and alone, is facing foreclosure on his company. Then he receives a tempting job offer: All he has to do is drive a car – and he says yes! But without knowing it, this decision has led Earl to be hired as a drug courier for a Mexican cartel. He does his job well – so well in fact that his cargo becomes more and more valuable and he is assigned to a cartel guard. But he’s not the only one watching Earl: The mysterious new drug courier has also appeared on the radar of tough DEA ​​agent Colin Bates (Bradley Cooper). But even though his money problems are now a thing of the past, the mistakes of his past are increasingly weighing on Earl – and it’s uncertain whether he still has time to make amends or whether the law – or the cartel – will catch him before then.

Movie explanation of the ending

There is hardly a filmmaker in Hollywood who can respond to the exclamation “He achieved everything!” is more true than director and actor Clint Eastwood. He has been showered with awards both in his position in front of and behind the camera, his films have met the consensus taste and at the same time caused controversy. He has dedicated himself to obscure art projects outside of film, and even brought a son into the world who seems to have the same actor gene in him. And after an announced withdrawal from the world of actors, Eastwood is now making the obligatory return to the big screen. After “Gran Torino” he plays again under his own direction, only this time tonally much more optimistic and visibly more for his own advantage. His new (and perhaps this time?) last film “The Mule” is a thoroughly entertaining road movie according to typical genre standards, but throughout the entire running time of 116 minutes you can’t shake the feeling that Eastwood was only interested in himself to stage yourself. This has already been his downfall in the States. There, “The Mule” was partly panned by critics; Above all, two scenes in which the senior gets involved in a threesome with two buxom beauties left a bad aftertaste (rightly!).

Earl (Clint Eastwood) seems to value his flower farming more than his family.

When Earl Stone drives through the endless expanses of the US hinterland in his pick-up truck, always wearing a lively evergreen on his lips, repeatedly emphasizing that in his many decades as a driver he has not received a single traffic ticket or accident built and because of his extroverted attitude he can easily talk to everyone, then he becomes the personified ideal of an entire generation. Clint Eastwood hits this attitude to life of an American who follows his own freedom-loving ideals on its head and goes even further. He speaks from the soul of a very specific breed of people: those people who still refer to black people as “niggers” (but of course they don’t mean that in a derogatory way, they just haven’t noticed that that’s no longer the case in vogue ), or for whom it is still not entirely normal, but of course somehow tolerable, for women to live with women and men with men (which, according to public statements, goes against Eastwood’s personal views). Eastwood does not necessarily celebrate open racism with “The Mule”; The corresponding scenes always deal with the immediate reaction of the person in question. For example, Earl’s African-American family immediately points out that his language is derogatory. Nevertheless, such scenes still strive for acceptance. And this mentality seems irritating, after all, Clint Eastwood is somehow begging people like him not to take it too badly if they say the N-word or are awkward when dealing with homosexuals.

There’s the script by Nick Schenk (“The Judge – Law or Honor”) Earl is also established as a narcissistic egomaniac from the start (in the first ten minutes he abandons his daughter at the altar in order to accept a prize for his flower cultivation instead), it is also difficult to deal with it apart from his very own understanding of tolerance and cosmopolitanism to sympathize with him. But that’s intentional: Earl’s work as a drug courier is ultimately not just the driving force for a classic road movie thriller plot, but also for a character drama. When, over time, Earl slowly begins to think about what really matters in life – namely family – and ultimately even risks his life for it, one even seems to recognize a certain form of self-reference. Although the script is loosely based on the true story of drug courier Leo Sharp, it wouldn’t be surprising if Clint Eastwood’s “The Mule” was also a bit of an apology to his own family, to which he was able to pay little attention due to his Hollywood career. That it is also Eastwood’s daughter Alison Eastwood (“Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil”) who here takes on the role of Earl’s daughter further reinforces this impression based on speculation.

Earl and his ex-wife Mary (Dianne West) cautiously get closer again.

Watching Clint Eastwood again as “The Mule,” with an actor carrying almost everything on his shoulders, is undoubtedly fun. The now 88-year-old is simply too good an actor to completely ignore his passionate performance. Likewise, the script has some nice individual scenes with him in which his wisdom collides with the illegal environment in which he actually has no place at all (when at some point during the second load he suddenly realizes what exactly he is actually transporting, you can attesting him to be at the same time as naive as possible, but also simply incredibly good-natured). At the same time, Eastwood also likes to portray himself as a dandy and womanizer, even though it plays no role at all in the further course of the story – and it is very questionable whether this was really intended in the spirit of the film or in his personal sense. Yves Bélanger’s camera keeps sliding (“Demolition”) lasciviously about women’s bodies and Eastwood allows himself to be seduced twice in front of the camera as part of a menage à trois. And although Earl reflects self-critically on himself and his life over the course of the film, there is hardly anything worth criticizing about his character, especially at the end; rather the opposite. It’s almost a given that the supporting cast, which consists entirely of superstars, hardly has the opportunity to play against him. They don’t even get fully developed character drawings. Bradley Cooper (“A Star is Born”) plays the obsessed cop just as simple as Michael Peña (“Ant-Man and the Wasp”) the patient henchman or Taissa Farmiga (“The Nun”) Earl’s granddaughter learning to understand her grandfather.

Conclusion: Formally speaking, “The Mule” is an entertaining road movie with a thriller touch that shines primarily thanks to Clint Eastwood. But the director and actor repeatedly explores the limits of good taste, which is irritating. Even if he probably doesn’t mean it in a bad way any more than his character portrayed here means the N-word.

“The Mule” can be seen in USA cinemas from January 31st.

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