Star – Clint Eastwood
My Rating ***
Genre – Drama
Run Time – 1 Hr 56 Minutes.
Certificate – 18
Country – U.S.A
Awards – 1 Win & 3 Nominations
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
I think it’s fair to say Clint Eastwood is a Hollywood legend. The now 89-year-old has won 4 Oscars, acted in 71 films, has 41 directing credits and time enough to produce on 48 films. There is no sign of him giving up the business either but increasingly frail on screen, acting in just 6 films this century. He wasn’t going to act in this one but the script is based on the true story of a very old man that became the cartels number one drug mule in America and Eastwood felt like that man was him in some ways and perfect to play him. His daughter Alison Eastwood, who also appears in the film, along with Clint’s ex wife Dianne Wiest, convinced him to appear in it after dad committed to directing.
The movie was based on The New York Times article “The Sinaloa Cartel’s 90-Year-Old Drug Mule” by Sam Dolnick. The written piece details the true story of Leo Sharp, a World War II veteran in his eighties, who became the world’s oldest and most prolific drug mule for the Sinaloa Cartel. In this movie it was slightly updated and Eastwood’s character a Korean War vet.
Clint Eastwood … Earl Stone
Cesar De León … Jose
Jackie Prucha … Helen
Richard Herd … Tim Kennedy
Keith Flippen … MC
Alison Eastwood … Iris
Kinsley Isla Dillon … Younger Ginny
Dianne Wiest … Mary
Joe Knezevich … Dave
Taissa Farmiga Taissa Farmiga … Ginny
Earl Stone (Eastwood) is getting old, very old, just celebrating his 90th birthday with his extended family; those who will still talk to him. He lives in Peoria, Illinois and a celebrated local horticulturist but a man who doesn’t have a filter and upsets a few.
At one of those family parties a friend of the family talks him into running an errand for a few quid to help pay towards his granddaughter Ginny (Taissa Farmiga) wedding. At this point he is unaware what the cargo will be but meets the local cholo’s anyway (unaware who they are) in a garage, flings the bag/package in the back of his truck and drives to a motel drop off point, where he is instructed to leave the keys in the dashboard and wait one hour, return to the truck and drive off, a very nice pile of cash in the glovebox for his efforts.
It goes well and he does another drop, and another, finally looking at the package on his fourth trip, slabs of pure cocaine, enough for twenty-years in the state pen. But he found some family and friends love helping to pay for the wedding and things with the money and so treats himself to a new truck and invests in his best friend’s bar. When you are 90 then how long will you last in prison?
The bigger the loads he moves the more he comes to the attention of the cartel boss (Andy Garcia) and an ambitious young FBI agent (Bradley Cooper), the later determined to catch the mystery courier in a black truck moving serious amounts of drugs across America. The boss just wants to thank him personally as he heads for the cartel smuggling record.
In his last few acting roles Eastwood has played increasingly grumpy characters and no change here. Death is near and so he just doesn’t care so, perhaps, the other Clint Eastwood coming out. Although the real Leo Sharpe had early onset dementia that made him more fearless and belligerent to the risk for what he was doing that is not revealed here and cleverly left up to the viewer to decipher that as Eastwood’s character is subtly acted in a way he is slightly aloof to reality.
It’s an enjoyable film and, for once, not in any way an Oscar chaser from Eastwood and his fans will enjoy this more because of. I certainly did. It was a bit indulgent to have his extended family in the movie and not an acting push for those guys so that slowed the movie down a little. It’s an Eastwood film and Clint just as mean and moody as ever with the dismissive sneer and alpha male presence in every scene. What guy wouldn’t want to be Clint Eastwood?
Probably not best look up the true story of Leo as it may spoil it but the film could have filled the character out a little bit more as it drifted on to emotional family ties in the last third of the film. Its budget of $50m took $174m back so decent word of mouth at the cinema and popular on movie streaming packages. It’s good but not anything special but you will be pleased you watched it as nothing quite like Clint Eastwood on screen and we need to enjoy him while we still can.
Imdb.com 7.0 /10.0 – (80,324votes)
Rottentomatos.com –71% critic’s approval
Metacritic.com – 58% critic’s approval