I’m pretty comfortable saying that Clint Eastwood is a legend. A bold take, I know! But Clint has not only shown his chops as a hardened western actor, but a talented director as well: for decades on end. But the man is 91 years old now. It’s incredible that he’s not only still a working actor and director, but it might be time to hang up the spurs. As far as I’m concerned, The Mule is his last film.
Cry Macho has several plot points that are abandoned and/or forgotten throughout the course of the film. The gist is that Eastwood, a retired horse handler and rodeo star, is tasked with finding his former boss’ son in Mexico and delivering him across state lines. His mother is powerfully connected and has henchmen at her disposal. Drama ensues.
There’s so much to unpack here, I don’t even know where to begin. Eastwood, while charming in several roles in his old age, sleepwalks through most of this film. Eduardo Minett, who plays Rafael Polk, the aforementioned son, is woefully prepared for most of the dramatic beats of Cry Macho; often matching or lowering the bar when it comes to Eastwood’s energy.
Much of the film is spent in Mexico, split between an extremely soapy and generic drama dealing with Rafael’s mom’s hired goons, and idyllic country life during pit stops and setbacks. It’s the latter that the film really shines, and Eastwood feels at his most natural. This setup could have been the entire film.
“Cry Macho could have been a terrific sendoff for Eastwood: the neo-western that capped off his career. As it stands, you can find more riveting drama on a Lifetime evening special.”
Eastwood’s character kind of shuffles around town, meeting and enamouring people with his stern kindness. He helps the locals with their animal problems, and for issues he can’t solve, he greets them with deference. It’s a very low-key but often cute Slice of Life film. Then Rafael gets back into the mix, the melodrama starts, and the film careens off a cliff again.
With a completely renewed screenplay that didn’t take pointless detours, Cry Macho could have been a terrific sendoff for Eastwood: the neo-western that capped off his career. As it stands, you can find more riveting drama on a Lifetime evening special.