The Mule

Rated 3.0

An octogenarian cultivator of daylilies (Clint Eastwood, who also directed) bails out his floundering flower business by running drugs for the Sinaloa Cartel from Mexico to Chicago. Nick Schenk’s script fictionalizes the true story of Leo Sharp, changing his name and adding an estranged ex-wife (Dianne Wiest) and daughter (Eastwood’s real daughter, Alison) to dramatize our hero’s regrets for bridges burned over his long life. As we might expect from an 88-year-old superstar filmmaker with nothing left to prove, the movie has an elegiac, farewell quality to it, and Eastwood moves gingerly through it with an air of leathery frailty. It’s as if Sergio Leone’s Man with No Name has evolved into a sort of tight-lipped, soft-hearted Archie Bunker. And somehow, there’s something strangely comforting in that.