Director: Clint Eastwood
Writers: Nick Schenk and N. Richard Nash
Starring: Clint Eastwood, Dwight Yoakam, Eduardo Minett, Natalia Traven, Fernanda Urrejola, and Horacio Gracia Rojas
Back in 1988, Clint Eastwood was offered the lead role in the adaptation of N. Richard Nash’s novel, Cry Macho. At that point he turned it down, choosing to make another Dirty Harry sequel. It’s ben over thirty years, many failed productions, and Cry Macho has finally been released with Clint Eastwood in the leading role and director’s chair.
Mike Milo (Clint Eastwood) was forced to retire from being a rodeo star due to an accident that caused a back injury, on top of that he lost his wife and child in a car accident. The person who got him through everything, his former boss Howard Polk (Dwight Yoakam), asks him to pay back the favour. What he wants in return is for Mike to travel into Mexico and bring back Howard’s son, who he hasn’t seen in years. Reluctantly Mike travels to Mexico, finds Howard’s son and starts to bring him back home, while avoiding the police and the friends of Howard’s ex-partner.
It’s been around sixty years since Clint Eastwood made a name for himself playing cowboys on TV and in films. It’s a genre that he’s returned to many times throughout his career and it’s very fitting that he returns to it again, in what would be a fitting swan song for the legendary actor and director. This is a reflective film that tackles the themes of getting older, legacy, and wisdom. There’s a moment where Clint Eastwood tells Rafo (Eduardo Minett), who he has been sent to bring back, that being ‘macho’ is just people pretending they have ‘grit’ and in the end that’s all they’re left with, being macho is overrated.
Most of the film takes place in a little town that Mike and Rafo get stuck in on the way to the border. Their first car is stolen, their second breaks down. Without any alternatives they stay in the town, helping the local ranch, before continuing their journey. It’s through these scenes that the film really finds its heart. Mike and Rafo end up becoming friends with the local café owner, and it’s through the character’s interactions that the film really thrives.
Clint Eastwood is a great director, who’s varied work is always of a high standard. Cry Macho is no exception to this rule. It does take a little while to really hook you, but once it does the time flies by. When the ending does roll around, with a fitting and happy ending for the aged cowboy, it doesn’t feel like you’re been sitting there for the full runtime, the credits appearing is genuinely shocking, not just because of how quickly it’s gone by but also because you feel that there’s something missing. Not everything is resolved, which is typical of life, but it does end on a note where it feels like there’s more of the story to tell. It’s not setting up a sequel but leaves you with questions to fill your mind on the way home.
With Cry Macho Clint Eastwood proves that being in his 90s hasn’t dwindled his ability of making a good film, both behind and in front of the camera. While the film’s ending isn’t completely satisfying, it’s still captivating while it lasts.
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