The Smuggler | Angus Sampson's naive Aussie drug mule sits it out to evade the law

The Smuggler aka The Mule Angus Sampson
(Image credit: © Trinity Filmed Entertainment)

The Smuggler aka The Mule Angus Sampson

"It's what inside that counts"

Apparently inspired by real events, this Australian black comedy about a naïve drug mule will have you squirming. But the story of The Smuggler (aka The Mule) is so bizarrely intriguing you will want to sit it through.

That’s actually the tactic adopted by TV repairman Ray (Angus Sampson, who also co-wrote and co-directed the film) after he falls into the clutches of the law while reluctantly trying to smuggle a batch of heroin into the country in 1983. Having swallowed the drugs, hidden inside condoms, can he hold on to the evidence for as long as the police - including Hugo Weaving's hard-as-nails cop - are legally allowed to detain him?

Sampson’s oafish hero is definitely not the full quid. But as his constipated ordeal drags on, with the cops and the crooks becoming ever more desperate to lay their hands on the drugs, there’s something admirable, and grotesquely comic, about his stubborn staying power.

Certificate 15. Runtime 98 mins. Directors Angus Sampson, Tony Mahony

The Smuggler debuts on Sky Cinema Premiere on Thursday 23 March and is available on DVD from Trinity Films.

Jason Best

A film critic for over 25 years, Jason admits the job can occasionally be glamorous – sitting on a film festival jury in Portugal; hanging out with Baz Luhrmann at the Chateau Marmont; chatting with Sigourney Weaver about The Archers – but he mostly spends his time in darkened rooms watching films. He’s also written theatre and opera reviews, two guide books on Rome, and competed in a race for Yachting World, whose great wheeze it was to send a seasick film critic to write about his time on the ocean waves. But Jason is happiest on dry land with a classic screwball comedy or Hitchcock thriller.