Film review: The Mule has guts


The Mule is a film about a slow-witted yet impressively-stubborn man trying not to do a poo. Seriously. Even stranger is that the movie, directed by Angus Sampson and Tony Mahony, is inspired by true events.

The Mule tells the story of an amateur footballer (played by Sampson) who is persuaded to swallow a bunch of condoms containing a shitload (if you’ll pardon the expression) of heroin in an attempt to smuggle them from Thailand back to Australia. He almost makes it through customs but ends up in police custody where he must stay for seven days or until he excretes the evidence, whichever comes sooner. And so, the battle with his own bowels is on, as he tries desperately not to poo.

The film delights in being very dark, occasionally violent and sometimes truly revolting. To its credit though, it doesn’t take its subject-matter down the easy route of lowest common denominator humour. Indeed, I didn’t belly-laugh throughout the entire film. This isn’t a criticism though, as I was engaged with the story throughout and found myself really concerned with the plight of the protagonist.

While Sampson plays the lead very well, the real star turn comes from hardman cop, Hugo Weaving. He chews the scenery from underneath an impressive moustache and steals every scene his is in. Also, Georgina Haig plays the rookie lawyer with gusto and sass, while Noni Hazlehurst and John Noble put in strong performances too.

Ultimately, The Mule is not for the weak-stomached. There are more than a couple of scenes that will make you want to look away, but it is a fascinating story, delivered in such a way that you’ll really give a shit whether the main character.. well… gives a shit.

The Mule is available on DVD and on digital release now.

bobby townsend


Review by Bobby Townsend