Review: The Mule (4K)

Witness it all when The Mule arrives on 4K UHD, Blu-ray, DVD & Digital. From Warner Bros. Pictures, Imperative Entertainment and BRON Creative comes Clint Eastwood’s newest feature film, the drama The Mule.

The Mule marks Eastwood’s first time on both sides of the camera since he starred in 2009’s critically acclaimed Gran Torino. In addition to directing, Oscar winner Clint Eastwood steps in front of the lens again, alongside fellow stars Oscar nominee Bradley Cooper, Oscar nominee Laurence Fishburne, Michael Pena, Oscar winner Dianne West and Oscar nominee Andy Garcia.

Plot: Broke, alone and facing foreclosure on his business, 90-year-old horticulturist Earl Stone takes a job as a drug courier for a Mexican cartel. His immediate success leads to easy money and a larger shipment that soon draws the attention of hard-charging DEA agent Colin Bates. When Earl’s past mistakes start to weigh heavily on his conscience, he must decide whether to right those wrongs before law enforcement and cartel thugs catch up to him.

Director:  Clint Eastwood

Aspect Ratio: 2:39:1

Runtime: 116 min

Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 70% & IMDB 7.1/10

Unboxing (See below)

Review:

This movie was shot with ARRIRAW camera’s in a 2.8K format and given a 2K Digital Intermediate. As per the norm with UHD releases, it was also given a HDR color grade for your viewing pleasure. There is some consistent grain in this movie, but nothing to poke negativity at — overall you will get a pretty clean image. The only time things looked off was in the beginning when Earl (Clint Eastwood) and his daughter were smoothed out to appear younger. I’m not saying the effects were bad, it just looked off (probably because of the 4K detail at play.) There were a few soft scenes to go along with this one in specific, but nothing out of the norm and nothing that took away from the film.

The HDR and black levels are also pretty solid across the board. Since a lot of the film takes place on the road, you’ll get various shots of landscapes and highways during the many runs with get great color, detail and sharpness — from the void of the desert to the lush-ness of a vineyard. Some of these scenes are really impressive. For example, the very first shots of the flowers in the garden — amazing color is presented, down to the little details such as individual droplets of water on pedals.

As usual — discs on the UHD format will give you great detail in all the character close-up’s. This means you will get deep pores, beard stubble, wrinkles, blemishes, etc. You will also catch great detail on Earl’s old truck with the appearance of rust, scratches, dirt and dust. Keeping with the trucks — the black levels look great on the brand new Lincoln both inside and out. This car consistently looked really sharp, especially with the reflections coming off the exterior.

That comes to the next point, this film is the definition of organic. Everything seemed natural with great depth, whether it was the sun-driven lighting at the headquarters in Mexico or the dullness of a dark car garage. There was a simplicity to everything that found a way to work — both visually and narratively.

Since the film is simple in nature — there weren’t too many moments to highlight. Late in the film in Chapter 12 you will get an in intimate conversation full of close up’s, detail and great natural lighting — something I can echo over and over. This continues in the following scenes on the road with more of what I mentioned before — including amazing depth and black levels inside the car. (There’s something about a black car with black interior and great lighting that come together nicely in UHD.) Not to be literal, but in Chapter 15 (Spoiler Warning) you’ll be presented with the final shots of Earl. Top notch natural lighting, flowers full color, super sharpness and extreme close-up detail. Just as the first shot of the film, it ends the same.

My two cents on the film? After I saw the first trailer for this movie I was all in — but the trailer tricked me. There was a certain tone to the trailer that didn’t pass over into the film, at least in my opinion. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed this movie, but I think I put my bar too high and ultimately, fell as a casualty to the hype. Clint Eastwood is a legend in the film industry, so you can’t really go wrong… right? I’ll leave that up to your discretion, but overall it’s a solid movie and a worthy addition to the UHD format. I can recommend that you give it a pickup.

Own The Mule on 4K UHD Combo Pack, Blu-ray combo pack and DVD on April 2nd, or Own It Early on Digital right now!

Cheers,

Matt.