Trailer Placement of the Month, “The Mule”

My love affair with Clint Eastwood’s directing didn’t begin with Dirty Harry or his Westerns, but with Gran Torino in 2008. From there, it grew with films such as Letters From Iwo Jima, Flags of Our Fathers, American Sniper, and Hereafter. It’s perhaps with a bit of a bias then that I give “Trailer Placement of the Month” to the official trailer for Clint Eastwood’s latest film, The Mule.

Directed by and starring Eastwood himself, The Mule is inspired by the true story of an 80-year-old American courier working for Mexican drug cartels.  As an Eastwood fan, I must say that the film’s official trailer, created by Wild Card AV, does a superb job in aligning itself with Eastwood’s late-life style. His later films are full of space- not every moment needs to be guided by music, and not every feeling needs words to be conversed. A simple absence of music gives way for nuanced character performances and dialogue, and what little music we do get contributes that much more to a scene’s emotions.

My first few times seeing this new trailer, I thought very little of the music itself. It wasn’t until my third watch that I realized what I was listening to- a drastically augmented interpretation of the 18thvariation from Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. One of 24 variations in the collective work, no. 18 is one of the most adored and poignant piano melodies in modern music, achieved simply by turning the original theme literally upside down. Now factor in the way it’s been interpreted for this trailer- with so much space and resonance, as well as some obligatory drones and percussive hits- and you’ve really got quite the pairing. The silence between notes leaves time for reflection; its sheer beauty juxtaposes the character’s life of crime and the wrongs he must confront before his inevitable reckoning.

The Mule opens in American theatres on December 14th.




About Matt Slifka 4 Articles
Matt Slifka, Bradley University graduate with a focus in music business.

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