Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Mule

Ray is one of those well meaning guys whose life hasn't gone anywhere. Living at home and dominated by his mother he admires Gavin, a childhood friend with a lad-about-town lifestyle. At the end of the footie season celebration Ray unexpectedly wins player of the year and is offered a free ticket on the team holiday to Thailand. It is left to Gavin to explain to Ray the reason for his inclusion. To swallow 20 condoms of heroin that Gavin is smuggling back to Melbourne for club benefactor and nightclub owner Pat Shepherd.

This wouldn't be much of a movie if everything went well. This is 1983 and all Australia is obsessed by the America's Cup. It also means that Ray can refuse a rectal exam and the police are only able hold him 7 days or 2 bowel movements. Ray decides to hold on. As the days drag on both the police and drug world become increasingly desperate. The only chink of light for Ray is his young court appointed lawyer, but she is clearly out of her depth.

Angus Sampson, writer, director and star of The Mule does a convincing job of playing the passive, uncommunicative Ray and convince us that he is trying hard to avoid going to the loo for 7 days. Hugo Weaving has a ball playing Detective Croft, well outside official police procedure and John Noble is suitably creepy as the local crime boss. Georgina Haig as the lawyer plays well against Hugo Weaving's crass macho posturing.

Like The Castle, The Dish and Muriel's Wedding; The Mule is an example of what Australian film makers do well - a funny film centred on a simple story staring ordinary people.

Ian's rating 3.5/5 Anne's rating 3.5/5

1 comment:

  1. One of my favourite moments is the customs officials doing rock paper scissors behind Ray's head to decide who gets to do the rectal exam.