September 19, 2014
True Detective headed up by Inspector Clouseau? This we need to see. Programme advisor Leigh Singer picks out three comic delights from this year’s London Film Festival, including a new film by an established director, a breakthrough film, and a wild card to take a chance on.
The wild card …
Dim bulb and first-time drug mule Ray Jenkins agrees to swallow heroin pellets and smuggle them back from Thailand, only to get caught at Aussie customs. Local police can hold him for up to a week, hoping that nature will take its course and that the evidence will come to light. But while Ray sits tight, the ruthless gangsters who sent him, not to mention a corrupt cop, close in and they’re a darn sight more irritable than any bowel syndrome from which poor Ray might be suffering.
Who made it?
Inspired by a real news story, screenwriter Jaime Brown penned an elaborated screenplay, itself then rewritten by actors Angus Sampson and Saw (2004) scribe Leigh Whannell, who play the hapless Ray and his treacherous buddy Gavin. Sampson also co-directs alongside commercials veteran Tony Mahony and the whole deal was enticing enough to attract some of Australia’s finest thesps, notably Lord of the Rings alumni Hugo Weaving and John Noble, as tough cop and vicious mob boss respectively.
What’s special about it?
There’s no getting away from it: The Mule revolves around whether a man will go to the loo or not. And yes, a certain bodily substance does indeed, as the phrase goes, happen. However, anyone dismissing this as low-brow, gross-out number twos is missing out on a real find – a film that’s both a relentless, oftentimes brutal exercise in suspense that could easily hold its own in the Thrill section; and a go-for-broke comedy that can make you gag with its daring black humour or super-smart plot twists.
At its heart is Sampson, whose portrayal of a man trying to keep it all in is so convincing that you physically squirm, while Weaving, Noble and Whannell offer top-notch support. Go take a chance on this diamond in the roughage – although maybe hold off on the popcorn.