Some of the greatest thrillers have involved cat and mouse chases and nail-biting suspense. Speed set the bar in terms of jeopardy but you don’t need to have a bus and a bomb in your movie in order to play for high stakes. In Tony Mahony and Angus Sampson’s debut film, The Mule, Ray has seven days to control his bowel movements or face a long prison sentence.

Ray (Angus Sampson) is a local misfit who lives with his overbearing mother (Noni Hazlehurst) and her unreliable partner (Geoff Morrell). By day, he’s a TV repairman, but at the weekends he plays for his local (Aussie-Rules) football team. The team celebrate the end of the season with a trip to Thailand and Ray is persuaded by an old friend, Gav (Leigh Whannell), to smuggle some drugs back for Kingpin Pat Shepherd (John Noble). After being stopped at customs he’s locked in a hotel room and in a battle of wits with detectives Croft (Hugo Weaving) and Paris (Ewen Leslie).

The Mule is a rather peculiar film and it’s quintessentially Australian, with bags of testosterone on show and plenty of ‘real men’ and warm lager. There’s much to be admired within the film, not least some decent acting and nice direction, but by the end it feels overly-stretched. The Mule is an amusing yarn which is at its best when Weaving and Leslie are doing their best hard-men acts.

The Mule is released on DVD Trinity Film on Monday and vod on 29 February.