‘The Mule’ Called Clint Eastwood’s Best Movie In More Than 25 Years, A Fitting End To His Acting Career

Clint Eastwood appears at the Cannes Film Festival.
Neilson Barnard / Getty Images

Clint Eastwood decided to come out of acting retirement for one more film, the drug-running saga The Mule.

Reviews show that it was a great decision.

The movie stars Eastwood as a 90-year-old who falls into running drugs for the Sinaloa drug cartel after his farm goes into foreclosure. It has earned some very strong reviews, with IndieWire calling it Eastwood’s best movie in at least 25 years. Though the review noted that there was some worry that the Republican-backing Eastwood may have been creating a “MAGA-era vehicle” to share his social views, it is instead something very different and much more tender.

“On the contrary, Eastwood’s latest thriller is a tender, conflicted, and sometimes very funny meditation on what America conditions people to want for themselves — on how natural it can be to forget who you are in a country where work is an identity unto itself.”

The Mule highlight’s the struggles Eastwood’s character faces with his family as he gets deeper into drug running, and moviegoers will get to see the actor’s real family on screen with him. Eastwood, as the director, cast his daughter Alison Eastwood to play his estranged daughter in the movie.

It has been something of a long wait for Clint Eastwood fans to see him back on the big screen. He last appeared in the 2012 sports drama Trouble With The Curve (aside from an uncredited cameo in American Sniper in 2014), and has not appeared in one of his own directed films since Gran Torino in 2008.

As AVClub noted, Eastwood had retired from movies though he remained active in producing and directing.

It’s not clear if Clint Eastwood’s acting retirement will resume after The Mule, but reviews have said this is a fitting end to his acting career should he decide to remain behind the camera from now on. And there seems to be a good indication that Eastwood is headed in that direction.

In an interview with Cinema Blend, Eastwood said there is a benefit to directing movies over acting.

“It’s a little more leisurely that way. You don’t have to suit up,” Eastwood said.

“People aren’t coming in and combing your hair or whatever. It’s a little more leisurely, but different. But they both have an adventure. It’s a new adventure. It’s a new story. It has new obstacles. So that’s what keeps it exciting.”

Those who want to see the (possible) last acting role for Clint Eastwood can check out The Mule when it hits theaters on December 14.