Sandy Kenyon reviews Clint Eastwood's 'The Mule'

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Clint Eastwood is 88 years old, and the star directed himself in his latest film as "The Mule" -- which is the name drug cartels use to describe those who carry their product.

"The Mule" is one of those stories that reaffirms the old saying about the truth being stranger than fiction. Earl Stone is a guy nearing 90 years of age, who incredibly is based on a real old man who made almost a million dollars transporting drugs for a Mexican cartel in his pick-up before he was finally caught and sent to prison.

His scheme was based on what magicians call "misdirection." Stone seems like an old farmer, raising daylilies and traveling from place to place. But he's also moving tons of cocaine.

His motive was money, after the internet had ruined his flower business.

Michael Pena and Bradley Cooper play DEA Agents on his trail.

That much is close to what happened, but the old guy's home life has been invented for the movie. In this story, he's an absentee dad at odds with his family, and that's even before they learn about his illegal activities.

"I put work ahead of family," Stone admits in the film. "For what it's worth, I'm sorry for everything."

I see the picture, which Eastwood also directed, as a reckoning of sorts with his own failings as a father. Only his real kids could tell you for sure, and all eight of them came to the premiere of this film, but I find it interesting he chose his own daughter Alison Eastwood to play his disgruntled daughter in the film.

As an ornery old man, Stone is hardly enlightened, and a few of this character's remarks in the film cross the line into racism. I wanted to warn you in advance, but Clint Eastwood communicates so much with just a pause or a glance or a simple curl of his lip, that I still love to watch him work.

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