Based, if you can believe it, on a true story, The Mule draws us into the misadventures of Ray, a good-hearted idiot who agrees to play mule under pressure from his drug-running mate, Gavin. Culminating in his detention in police custody with a belly full of heroin-packed condoms, The Mule spins its most gut-wrenching twists out of young Ray’s need to keep what’s in his bowel from leaving his bowel. Detectives, bent and straight, vie with gangsters to mine the valuable cache in Ray’s fundament, chief among them Hugo Weaving as grand-standing bad cop. Ray’s parents wade in, way out of their depth, his peppy legal aid rep Jasmine stands up to male swagger, and the rest of Australia goes troppo for the America’s Cup (it’s unmistakably 1983 in every sharply dressed frame). Co-directed by Tony Mahony and Angus Sampson (who plays Ray), the script was co-written with Leigh Whannell (writer of the much grislier Saw), who plays Gavin. Sporting a connoisseur’s eye for gormlessness and small-time corruption, it’s wily, funny and contains at least one feat of on-screen grossness disgusting enough to unite an audience in an ecstatic howl of protest.
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