December 10th, 2021
MOVIE: CRY MACHO- BLU-RAY REVIEW
STARRING: CLINT EASTWOOD, DWIGHT YOAKAM, EDUARDO MINETT
DIRECTED BY: CLINT EASTWOOD
AMovieGuy.com’s RATING: 3 STARS (Out of 4)
The late stage of directing in Clint Eastwood’s career has been a fascinating period to watch. The actor/director is 93-years young, and continues to churn out his brand of cinema, unabashedly conservative, but authentic in his style of storytelling. What began with American Sniper, followed by Sully, The 15:17 to Paris, The Mule, Richard Jewell, and now Cry Macho, it’s been a back and forth of his views on American heroism and the aging man with years of regret on his back. Mixed in between all of those movies has been controversy, what he views as the condemning and praising of America, while also staging as his own personal director’s therapy. Cry Macho is more the latter, playing a man named Mike Milo, once a great bronco rider at rodeos, now living his retirement as a helping hand at the ranch of his friend Howard (Dwight Yoakam). The two have a spat, there’s a brief divide, but then Howard needs his old pal to do him one last favor, which is a drive to Mexico to pick up his long estranged son Rafo (Eduardo Minett). The threat that this will be a difficult task arises, but what Cry Macho turns into is a sensitive new friendship, where the old dog still can teach a young man some tricks about life.
This is a road trip movie, about an older man, and a young boy finding friendship in one another, while the elder statesmen finds a new perspective on life. The screenplay is co-written by Nick Schenk and the author of the novel N. Richard Nash. In the beginning stages I was expecting the typical Eastwood fare, where his character reveals his out of touch nature, using racist terms, and backwards concepts of what the world should look like. It starts with that, when Mike makes his way across the border to Howard’s ex-wife Leta’s mansion. It’s clearly a house paid for by crime, with bodyguards standing by, and a verbal spat between the two about taking Leta’s son away from her. Having Rafo leave voluntarily is not easy and it’s not till Mike saves him from an illegal cock fight where he agrees to go back to see his father. That won’t fly with Leta, so she sends some of her cartel goons to trail Mike every step of the way.
The premise read out loud might have you thinking that Cry Macho is a tense thriller. There’s a few brief moments of heightened tension, but this is more of a laid back film, with Rafo and Mike sitting by a fire, chatting about what it means to be a man. Their travels bring them to a small rancher town and once they arrive they are able to settle down. They meet Marta (Natalia Traven), a server at the local bar-restaurant, and someone that instantly makes a connection with Mike. While in the town, the narrative shifts to a further connection with Mike’s character, as his relationship with Rafo becomes his own subtle chance at fatherhood, while his burgeoning connection with Marta grows into a love between two people that have experienced more than their fair share of excitements, from the upside, and disappointing downside of the roads they have traveled.
There’s an impressive sense of restraint from Eastwood with Cry Macho. Where the opportunities to comment on the less fortunate in The Mule or the reckless and grandiose accusations about a female journalist made in Richard Jewell, it’s the lack of insensitive or offensive social commentary that impressed me most. On top of that well placed restraint, the narrative themes of Cry Macho become about what it means to be a man, and it’s safe to say that Eastwood has learned a thing or two in his lifetime. The character of Mike shuts down the thought that being violent or angry is a way of proving that one is macho. In a not so subtle way, Cry Macho is Clint Eastwood being the father he wasn’t always able to be, finding redemption in a story that has a sensitivity, which many of Eastwood’s films have been missing.
By the end, Cry Macho is not raising the blood pressure as one might expect from a movie directed by Clint Eastwood, but it’s certainly a beautiful swan song. If the Million Dollar Baby director were to close the book on his career with Cry Macho, it would be a lovely topper, to an already grand career. He showed me that there’s still a gentle heart inside the weary veteran and maybe it just took a road trip with a misunderstood kid, and his rooster named Macho for us to see his true self. If Clint Eastwood rides into the sunset, he will have left a lasting impact with Cry Macho.
CRY MACHO IS CURRENTLY AVAILABLE ON BLU-RAY & DVD FROM WARNER BROTHERS, ON DEMAND, AND ON HBOMAX.
Written by: Leo Brady