The Mule (2014 film)

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The Mule
The Mule poster.jpg
Promotional poster
Directed by Tony Mahony
Angus Sampson
Produced by Jane Liscombe
Angus Sampson
Screenplay by Jaime Brown
Angus Sampson
Leigh Whannell
Story by Jaime Brown
Starring Hugo Weaving
Angus Sampson
Leigh Whannell
Ewen Leslie
John Noble
Music by Cornel Wilczek
Mikey Young
Cinematography Stefan Duscio
Edited by Andy Canny
Release date
  • 9 March 2014 (2014-03-09) (South by Southwest)
  • 21 November 2014 (2014-11-21)
Running time
103 minutes
Country Australia
Language English

The Mule is a 2014 Australian comedy crime drama film directed by Tony Mahony and Angus Sampson.[1] It was released directly to iTunes and other digital platforms simultaneously in Australia, United States, Canada and New Zealand on 21 November 2014.

Plot[edit]

In 1983 Australia, television repairman Ray Jenkins (Angus Sampson) and his football team celebrate the end of their season by spending the weekend in Thailand. Ray's best friend Gavin (Leigh Whannell), a small-time criminal working for local property owner/crime lord Pat Shepherd (John Noble), asks Ray to transport heroin on flight back. Ray refuses, but finds out his step-father is deeply in gambling debt, and his mother will be targeted if he does not pay up. He agrees to transport the heroin. In Thailand, while wandering through the markets, Gavin goes to pick up half a kilogram of heroin to bring back to Pat. Before he leaves, he purchases an extra half kilogram to sell on his own. At the hotel, Gavin hides the heroin in condoms, coercing Ray to swallow them. Upon their arrival at Melbourne Airport, Ray begins to panic and is eventually detained by customs officials. Believing that Ray is a drug trafficker, he is arrested by Australian Federal Police agents Croft and Paris (Hugo Weaving and Ewen Leslie). Ray's lawyer Jasmine Griffiths (Georgina Haig) tells Ray that he can only be held in a hotel room for four days.

During the four days, Ray tries to hold back his bodily functions to prevent himself from being convicted, aided by codeine, which constipates him. Gavin returns to tell Ray's mother Judy (Noni Hazlehurst) and stepfather John (Geoff Morrell) that Ray has been arrested. They plan to head to the hotel to visit him, but John has a discussion with Gavin, revealing his participation in the drug scheme to get Pat to get rid of his debts.

Paris arrives at the hotel room to find Ray being tormented by Croft and a police guard. He kicks them out of the room and comforts Ray, giving him more codeine.

Gavin hides from Pat, but is found and beaten savagely for botching the heroin transport. Pat tells Gavin that Ray must be killed to prevent him from giving information to the police. Gavin heads to the hotel, where he persuades the guard to let him visit Ray, intending to stab Ray, but finds he cannot bring himself to do so. He is caught by Paris, who follows him to the rooftop. Paris reveals himself to be a cop out to make money from drugs, while Gavin explains the whole situation. Paris pushes Gavin from the rooftop and he hits Pat's Lithuanian guard Ziggy's car, killing him on impact. Ziggy dumps Gavin's body by the side of the road and leaves town.

Having witnessed Gavin falling off the building, Ray realizes that Paris is corrupt. He tries to tell Croft, but Croft doesn't believe it.

Croft goes to the judge and extends the sentence to ten days, despite Jasmine's pleas. She visits Ray and tells him that if he is ever released, he should testify against Croft and Paris for keeping him held against his will and their cruel behavior. She has given the information of the extended detention to a newspaper, but the newspaper is busy reporting the 1983 America's Cup race.

After Pat steals his car, John drunkenly admits to Judy his part in the scheme and she kicks him out. John heads to Pat's bar, where he threatens to expose him to the police. Pat has John strangled by his Thai chef, Phuk.

In the middle of the night, Ray is unable to stop himself from defecating in his bed. After making sure the guard is asleep, Ray ingests the condoms again, gagging profusely and trying not to vomit, before the guard wakes.

Still insisting that Ray is hiding the drugs, Croft goes to the judge and finally extends the sentence to the maximum of 14 days. On the twelfth night, Ray puts his plan into action. He excretes one of the condoms and places some of the heroin in the beer of the police officer guarding him, putting him to sleep. He then excretes the rest of the condoms, and taking a coin from the police officer's wallet, starts to unscrew the back panel of the television.

Pat sings at Gavin's funeral. Judy, fearful for Ray's health, attempts to force-feed Ray his favourite meal cooked with heavy laxatives. Ray refuses to eat it and the police have to pull his mother off of him. The police eat the meal and are struck with intense diarrhea.

On the last night, the police officers are trying to watch the 1983 America's Cup but the television is displaying static, so they call reception to have it repaired. On the morning of the last day, Paris furiously attempts to make Ray finally go to the toilet, but Paris discovers there are no drugs in his stomach contents. He attacks Ray, but Croft and another officer arrive before he can force Ray to swallow glass. An ambulance is called, and Ray hands Croft a photograph of Pat. A furious Paris trashes the hotel room looking for the drugs, and finds a hidden microphone in a flower vase. Paris realizes his threats and confession to Ray have been recorded, revealing his corruption, and Croft enters the room and arrests him while berating him, admitting that he bent the rules, but Paris broke them by killing Gavin. Croft has also sent police to arrest Pat, but the Thai heroin boss instructs Phuk not to permit the police to take Pat alive, and he is beaten to death as the police arrive. At the television repair shop where he works, Ray smiles as he looks at the televisions in the window where he hid the heroin.

Cast[edit]

Reception[edit]

It has an 85% "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 26 reviews, with an average rating of 6.7/10.[2] It has a score of 57% on Metacritic.[3]

IGN awarded it a score of 8.5 out of 10, saying "Less black comedy and more brown drama, The Mule goes to some seriously dark places but is still full of laughs." [4]

Accolades[edit]

Award Category Subject Result
SXSW Film Festival Audience Award for Narrative Spotlight Tony Mahony Nominated
Angus Sampson Nominated
AFCA Awards Best Actor Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Hugo Weaving Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Noni Hazlehurst Nominated

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.allmovie.com/movie/the-mule-v610235
  2. ^ http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/mule_2014/
  3. ^ "The Mule Metacritic listing." (http://www.metacritic.com/movie/the-mule) Metacritic. Accessed 24 May 2016.
  4. ^ Singer, Leigh, 14 October 2014 "The Mule Review" (http://uk.ign.com/articles/2014/10/14/the-mule-review). IGN. Accessed 24 May 2016.

External links[edit]