A one-time rodeo star and washed-up horse breeder takes a job to bring a man’s young son home and away from his alcoholic mom. On their journey, the horseman finds redemption through teaching the boy what it means to be a good man.
Clint Eastwood continues his swansong with his 39th directed movie, showing little signs of stopping as he heads into his 90s. He’s averaged almost one film a year since 2000 and whilst his acting roles have became less frequent, he once again saddles up and takes the leading role in ‘Cry Macho’, a movie about Mike, a former rodeo star who is tasked with bringing a friend’s troubled son back from Mexico. It’s a simple story that has many similarities to Eastwood’s last acting role in ‘The Mule’, in that it finds Eastwood reckoning with his age and regrets, and it carries greater power because of his legacy as one of the icons of cinema.
In terms of the plot of ‘Cry Macho’, it is primarily a two hander between Eastwood and Eduardo Minett as Rafo, who has been caught in the middle of a battle between his mother and his estranged father. Once Rafo decides to leave for the US with Mike, with his fighting rooster in tow (the ‘Macho’ of the title), it becomes a road movie with several stops on the way. There are attempts to add a bit of extra drama with some of Rafo’s mother’s henchmen chasing after them, which never really generates much tension or excitement, and an extended break at a farm where Mike rediscovers his love for animals. The film plays out much as you would expect with Mike and Rafo bonding with one another, Mike passing his wisdom on from a life well lived, and if you thought ‘Macho’ was just the name of the rooster, you’d be mistaken – it’s a thematic throughline about what it means to be a man. Eastwood is in good shape for 91, but come on Clint, it’s stretching belief somewhat that these attractive women half your age would be interested. You’re not Clint in the movies, you’re just an elderly man. It worked better in ‘The Mule’ but comes across as a little icky here for me.
To be blunt, this isn’t one of Eastwood’s best films – it very much falls into the tell, don’t show trap that has became a staple of recent Eastwood movies, and there’s little new or original here. That being said, Eastwood is such a magnetic screen presence that I can’t help being drawn into anything he does and ‘Cry Macho’ is similar. Perhaps it’s because we know he’s getting older and his time on screen is coming to an end, and maybe once he’s gone, I’ll perhaps look back with more of a critical eye towards a film such as this, but for the moment it’s great to spend some time with him. So consider this 3 with a pinch of salt – this is one to catch at home if you want something that isn’t particularly taxing to sit back and enjoy.
Directed By: Clint Eastwood
Starring: Clint Eastwood, Dwight Yoakam, Eduardo Minett, Natalia Traven, Fernanda Urrejola and Horacio Garcia Rojas