Stone is starting to look a little frail. Her performance in ‘The Mule’
is fickle, brittle and slightly nervous- but rather than detracting from
the film, this actually helps.
plays Aaron Talbert, an American who is sympathetic to the plight of
Mexicans hoping to cross the border in search of a better life. His
ideals run him afoul of Juanita (Giovanna Zacarias,) a tough-as-nails
people smuggler who places no value on a few human lives.
Talbert goes missing, it falls to his sister Sofie (Sharon Stone) to
rescue him. With the help of a DEA agent, she crosses the border and
enters a shady underworld ruled by drugs, bribery and human trafficking.
is very obviously a film made on a budget; this is evident in the
repetitive, often amateurish soundtrack, slightly dodgy acting from
incidental characters, not-quite-right editing and the frequent re-use
it does have a few things going for it. The plight of Mexican refugees
is depicted with stark, oppressive realism. Stone’s shaky performance,
filled with almost hysterical emotional moments, just adds to that
realism. Throughout the film she appears in the same change of clothes,
usually without make-up, often looking terrible- as any of us would,
after being crammed into an oil tanker and driven over bumpy roads
across the Mexican desert.
half of the movie really does plod, thanks to a bare-bones story that
has been drawn out for far too long, and some lingering ‘deep &
meaningful’ moments of eye contact that would put Days of Our Lives to
shame. However in the last half hour or so things do pick up. There are
some twists that you’ll probably see coming, but which are enjoyable
nonetheless, and help to accelerate the film’s plot.
On top of
this there are some painfully brutal moments- enough to make you feel
genuinely uncomfortable, but they are within their proper context under
the bleak and violent umbrella of the movie’s setting.