The Mule Blu-ray Review
In terms of quality, there’s a lot going against THE MULE. First off, this is directed, written, and stars the men who’ve crafted the INSIDIOUS franchise. And no, this is not a horror movie. If it was, it might play to their strengths. This is the opposite. A slow burning, dry humored, crime drama. There’s also the fact that half this movie is confined to a hotel room where a man has over a dozen condoms filled with heroin in his body and a “will or won’t he” poop scenario. The third and final potential strike with that kind of story is the run time that goes over an hour and a half. With all that said, are you ready to read why I liked it?
What an unfortunate person Ray (Sampson) is. He looks like someone who’s on the verge of falling asleep from boredom or someone who just realized the rest of their life will be spent in perpetual loneliness. Considering the year is 1983, his job (or career) as a TV repairman is fairly short lived with technology’s break neck speed advancements around the corner. Ray lives with his parents and fits the definition of a momma’s boy. He’s the last person you’d expect to smuggle drugs on to a plane, much less into a foreign country, and that’s exactly why he’s chosen.
That and he’s already been set-up by plenty of behind-the-scenes players so that he can travel to Bangkok where the illegal narcotics are going. And when he needs some persuasion, they simply threaten the life of his stepdad, who owes these seedy men money. The extent of this network of bad guys is yet to be seen, but that’s because everyone has their own agenda and poor Ray is simply caught in the middle. Even when he’s finally taken by police and secluded to a hotel room, he doesn’t catch a break. Weaving plays Tom Croft, an incredibly persistent Australian federal agent that eagerly waits for Ray to make a bowel movement.
The execution of THE MULE is a lot cleverer than you’d expect. It manages to hold your attention by drawing out the agony of Ray and letting the internal motivations of the people surrounding him slowly unfold. Ray’s character is wholesome and likeable, but he may only be likeable for the simple fact that he’s such an innocent bystander being used as a drug mule. Although your attention is quickly snatched because you slowly begin to wonder what kind of drive this man has to keep up the façade. At some point, the police are not going to believe constipation lasts over 10 days. If you feel you might be too squeamish for a movie centered on a bowel movement, then you might want to forego the final act of the movie.
The movie notes that it’s based on a true story, but the only truth in this that I would believe is the America’s Cup yachting competition. The film has our Aussie actors constantly watching or glancing at the race. As history shows, it was an incredibly important year. The defending New York yacht club lost after holding on to the championship for 132 years. It’s peppered in because it would only make sense that our story centered on an underdog would have the true story of a true underdog in the background. Ray is the most enjoyable dark horse in recent memory.
Video: (1080p Widescreen 2:39:1) Outside of cuts to TV footage of the 1983 America’s Cup, the movie comes in crystal clear. The blu-ray keeps the details of the 1980’s sharp.
Audio: (English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) A well-mixed soundtrack along with some auditory unpleasantness makes for a great presentation. As much as you don’t want to hear the internal sounds of Ray’s body, you get to.
Deleted Scenes (10:02): You can play these all or separately. The majority of these deleted scenes are slightly unnecessary, but one in particular does answer an unresolved issue I had with the movie.
Who. What. Where. When. (4:04): This features interviews with the actors talking about the plot and the individual characters that populate this world.
Ego (2:42): While the previous feature was simply about the actors and the characters, this goes deeper into the motivations of the characters and glazes over a couple of the themes.
Ticking Time Bomb (1:11): An incredibly short feature that inherently serves no purpose other than to advertise the movie you just watched.
1983 America’s Cup (2:17): Throughout the film, there’s a sailing competition of some sort that plays on the TV’s throughout the background. Actors link the implications of the contest to the plot of the movie.