At the Movies
November 19, 2014
Review by Margaret Pomeranz
The fact that Australian films are struggling to find audiences in their home country has been cause for discussion lately. Maybe that’s why THE MULE is taking a different approach.
Apart from a few event sessions with some of the creative people involved the film will only be available to download at considerably less expense than a visit to the cinema.
Co-written by Angus Sampson and Leigh Whannell from a story by Jaime Browne and co-directed, with Tony Mahony, by Sampson who also stars as Ray, the mule.
After winning a trip to Thailand from his footie club Ray is talked into swallowing a kilo of heroin by his mate Gavin (LEIGH WHANNELL).
He warns Gavin that he’s not very good at this sort of thing and indeed, on returning to Australia, his suspicious behavior attracts the attention of the federal police, officers Croft (HUGO WEAVING) and Paris (EWEN LESLIE).
Holed up in a motel near the airport, they have a week for Ray to evacuate the contents of his stomach but meanwhile, the football club’s president Pat (JOHN NOBLE) who was the instigator of the plan, is on the warpath.
This savvy, funny, and at times vicious film, has been really nicely directed by Tony Mahony and Sampson and they have garnered a first rate cast, including GEOFF MORRELL) and NONIE HAZLEHURST as Ray’s parents, all of whom are wonderfully convincing
The screenplay is smart, Stefan Duscio’s cinematography is crisp, with some fabulous locations and it’s been well edited by Andy Canny.
It’s a tense, well-acted and very original thriller.
DAVID: I think we watched different films.
MARGARET: We often do, David.
DAVID: I didn’t find those qualities in this, much as I searched for them. It’s a sort of thriller with a comic edge, supposedly based on a true story, apparently based on a true story. I found it a bit tedious, to be perfectly honest.
MARGARET: I thought it was really funny and I thought they pulled it off because some of it’s quite disgusting.
DAVID: Some of it is extremely disgusting and they seemed to revel in that aspect of it.
MARGARET: Well, I thought they were quite practical about it, actually. I don’t think it’s revelling.
DAVID: Okay. Well, look, I don’t want to dwell too much on my antipathy towards this film.
MARGARET: No, don’t. Don’t.
DAVID: Because I know you like it, so let me leave you to be positive.
MARGARET: Well, I’m going to give it four stars.
DAVID: I’m giving it two and a half.