The true crime-inspired Clint Eastwood film climbing the Netflix charts
(Credit: Netflix)

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The true crime-inspired Clint Eastwood film climbing the Netflix charts

This week the true story-inspired Clint Eastwood film, The Mule, has been steadily climbing the charts on Netflix. Directed by Eastwood himself, the film tells the fascinating story of a real-life drug courier, Leo Sharp, whose unlikely involvement in the narcotics trade shocked the nation.

The Mule centres around Earl Stone, based on Sharp and portrayed by Eastwood. Earl is an elderly horticulturist who, due to financial hardships, finds himself on the wrong side of the law. Desperate for money and redemption, he becomes a mule for a powerful Mexican drug cartel.

The screenplay of the film The Mule draws inspiration from real events and is penned by Nick Schenk. It takes its cues from a 2014 article published in The New York Times titled “The Sinaloa Cartel’s 90-Year-Old Drug Mule” written by Sam Dolnick. The article sheds light on the astounding tale of Leo Sharp, an octogenarian World War II veteran who unexpectedly found himself embroiled in drug trafficking as a ‘mule’ for the notorious Sinaloa Cartel.

Eastwood had spoken about getting into the skin of the character, explaining how emotions can end up justifying the worst decisions, “It’s against the law, carting stuff that is very dangerous for our population and the country. But by the same token, somebody is doing it so it might as well be me getting the money. Which is just rationale, and when you start rationalising things like that, it is such a human emotion. People do it all the time and they can make wrong into right.”

Eastwood’s portrayal of Earl has been praised for being remarkable. With his weathered face and piercing gaze, he effortlessly captures the essence of a man haunted by regrets. Earl grapples with the consequences of his actions and the toll it takes on his family.

In addition to Eastwood’s commanding performance, The Mule boasts a stellar supporting cast, including Bradley Cooper as DEA Agent Colin Bates, Michael Peña as his partner Agent Treviño,  Laurence Fishburne as Bates’ supervisor Warren Lewis, Dianne Wiest as Earl’s estranged ex-wife Mary Stone, and Andy García as Cartel boss Latón.

One of the film’s greatest strengths lies in its ability to balance suspense and drama with moments of levity. Eastwood, known for his mastery of storytelling, infuses The Mule with his signature dry wit, charm, and Western imagery we have come to associate with him.

A must-watch for fans of Eastwood’s work, The Mule is currently streaming on Netflix.