November 18, 2014
On Monday 10 November our wonderful members were joined by the cast and crew of The Mule for the Australian premiere. Directed by Angus Sampson and Tony Mahony, and starring Hugo Weaving, John Noble and Noni Hazlehurst, the film received rapturous reactions at both the South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin, Texas, and the London Film Festival.
Cinema 2 was buzzing and we were honoured to host cast and crew who had bought The Mule to our screen, including Cinematographer Stefan Duscio; Production Designer Paddy Reardon; Editor Andy Canny; Location Manager Donna Harvey; Music Supervisor Jemma Burns; Composer Cornel Wilczek; Producer Jane Liscombe; Post Production Supervisor Hamish Macdonald and Sound designer Emma Bortignon.
A fascinating Q&A followed the screening, allowing our members insight into the entire production process. There was a lot of interest in the film’s locations, from the familiar Melbourne suburbs of Sunshine, Thornbury and Footscray to exotic Bangkok.
Set against the backdrop of Australia’s famous 1983 America’s Cup win, awkward yet loveable Ray (Angus Sampson), Clubman of the Year at his local footy club, is duped by mate Gavin (Leigh Whannell) into smuggling lethal narcotics home from a club trip to Thailand in his stomach. Detained by Australian Federal Police, alone and afraid, ‘the Mule’ makes a desperate choice; to defy his bodily functions and withhold the evidence… literally. With the drugs in his stomach, Ray becomes a human time-bomb; dragging cops, criminals and concerned family into his impossible escapade.
Sampson is terrific as Ray, his performance is the heartbeat of the film and the subtle intelligence of Ray’s character is expertly crafted all the way to the film’s satisfying conclusion. With wickedly enjoyable turns from a captivating Georgina Haig (The Sapphires) as Ray’s public defender, and a repellently reptilian John Noble (The Lord of the Rings) as Club President/Drug Baron Pat Shepherd,The Mule boasts a fantastic supporting cast which also features standout performances from Ewen Leslie, Noni Hazlehurst and Geoff Morrell.
One of the most enjoyable performances for me is Hugo Weaving as old school Detective Tom Croft. After detaining Ray at a nearby hotel for seven days, Croft makes every minute of his 24 hour watch a living hell – teasing and tormenting a sweating, writhing Ray to breaking point.
Hugo Weaving and Ewen Leslie in The Mule
As the screen faded and the house lights came up, there was a shared sense amongst our Members that we’d all just seen the next Australian cult classic. To share the cinematic magic, on Sunday 7 December, Sampson will join co-stars Leigh Whannell and Georgina Haig, the cast and crew as well as fans the world over for a unique interactive event – at 3pm AEDT, they’ll be live tweeting trivia, fun facts and answering audience questions while the film screens simultaneously.
Want to get in on the action? After the film’s officially digital release on Friday 21 November, The Mule will also be released straight onto BluRay/DVD/VOD on Wednesday 3 December.
Our next Member screening will be announced shortly so keep your eyes peeled. Not an ACMI Member? Check out the benefits and join to take advantage of special events like the Australian Premiere of The Mule.
Thanks all, see you at the movies!
Ben Haller – Membership Coordinator
Check out this interview with Angus Sampson and Leigh Whannell at South By Southwest