November 21, 2014
The Mule follows a naive man with lethal narcotics hidden in his stomach is detained by Australian Federal Police in 1983. Alone and afraid, he makes a desperate choice; to defy his bodily functions and withhold the evidence…literally and by doing so becomes a “human time-bomb,” dragging cops, criminals, lawyers and his mother into his impossible escapade. Movies like this are rare that take a limited amount of set pieces to tell a story, but when they are done right they manage to be more than enough. Here they have taken a simple story that could have easily not worked and crafted a darkly humorous and entertaining crime film. They made a lot of smart decisions here with the most important being not trying to force it and instead letting the ridiculous nature of the events just play out on their own and it works. Everyone here does a great job bringing their characters to life, but its Angus Sampson and Hugo Weaving that steal the show. Sampson has the most to deliver as he is carrying the film and his everyman approach makes him a character you actually feel sorry for, but it’s his varying emotions as well as physical and mental struggles that he faces as the days progress that really showcase his great performance. There is no argument that Hugo Weaving is a brilliant actor, but here he takes a seemingly throwaway character and makes him interesting and borderlined insane like only he can. His mannerisms along with his approach to the dialogue make the character yet another memorable one in his filmography. There is a balloon scene that is funny, but his facial expression while doing it makes it priceless. Leigh Whannel had already cemented himself as a great writer and creator with his collaborations with James Wan, but here he has showcased a different kind of writing that further showcases his true brilliance.
This is a dark film filled with everything you could want in a film including one of the most disgusting sequences you might ever see and it hardly shows anything, but just the thought of what is happening will test your gag reflex. Sampson has taken on a lot with co-writer, co-director and star and executed it all to perfection. Be sure to check out The Mule available in theaters, VOD and iTunes now.