Jenny Hatton Mahon
November 26, 2014
With a stellar cast including Hugo Weaving, Angus Sampson, Leigh Whannell, Ewen Leslie, Geoff Morrell, Georgina Haig, Noni Hazlehurst and John Noble, The Mule is a gritty black comedy about a hapless Australian who, on his return from a footy trip to Thailand, finds himself in trouble with a stomach full of heroin stuffed condoms.
Under suspicion of smuggling drugs, Ray (played by Angus Sampson, co-writer and director of the film) refuses to undergo an examination or x-ray and his lack of co-operation finds him being taken into police custody. He remains holed-up in a hotel room under 24 hour police surveillance while the local detectives, Croft (played by Hugo Weaving) and Paris (played by Ewen Leslie), wait for him to “deliver the goods” which is expected to occur within a couple of days.
Meanwhile, having been primed with constipation-inducing medication administered by his ill-fated friend, Gavin (played by co-writer Leigh Whannell), Ray manages to withhold the evidence for longer than expected, leading to much discomfort not only for Ray, but also his visitors, giving movie-goers some “gaggingly gross but oh so great” laugh-out-loud moments.
Whilst Ray, a television technician, initially comes across as naïve and dim-witted, there are flashes of brilliance in his defiance and manoeuvring of the complex and seemingly hopeless situation.
Set in 1983 with the America’s Cup playing in the background, The Mule delivers a true blue belly laugh with its extreme situations whilst also delivering some tense scenes with convincing performances from the cast.
There are enough twists and turns in the plot to keep you wondering what’s coming next with good cops/corrupt cops, double-crossing friends, doting mother/idiot father, gangsters, transgender drug dealers, lawyers and laxatives.
The Mule has been made with the audience at the forefront of the filmmakers minds, this being reinforced in the way the movie is being distributed. Rather than releasing The Mule via the traditional cinema route, the movie has been launched through video-on-demand platforms including iTunes – a successful strategy that has seen the movie achieve the No 1 independent new release in the US. This strategy also means the movie isn’t subject to the 4 month waiting period between cinema release and a domestic DVD launch so you get access to it sooner.
If you’re a fan of offbeat Australian independent films, The Mule is a not-to-be-missed movie.
The Mule is not coming to a cinema near you but is available on iTunes now!
Oh, and not wanting to miss a “set of steak knives” opportunity… there’s more – The Mule is based on a true story!