Cry Macho is an incredibly monotonous buddy road trip film with nothing to say of any substantive value.
This review of the film Cry Macho does not contain spoilers — you can watch Cry Macho on HBO Max or in theatres.
It’s not every day you get to right a wrong. In 1988, Clint Eastwood had a chance to make Cry Macho. The new film was streaming and playing in theatres today simultaneously—a film adaptation from the book of the same name from N. Richard Nash. The Hollywood legend asks the viewer to strain the credibility of the 91-year old Eastwood playing a recently retired rodeo clown who is physically able to make the trek to Mexico to kidnap an adolescent to make a quick $50,000. He even manages to shack up with a woman who could be playing his (great?) granddaughter. It’s a role his son Scott would have had an easier chance to be cast in.
Eastwood plays Mike, a one-time sad clown of the rodeo circuit. He has taken up horse breeding. He was breaking in stallions for cowboys much younger than him. Mike is on his last legs. His long-time boss, Howard (Dwight Yoakum), lets him go, but with the reason to offer him a job — cross the border to kidnap his 11-year old son, Rafo (Eduardo Minett). His mother is an alcoholic and abuses the boy, he says. He offers Mike that large sum of money to grab him and bring him back. One would think he could pay someone with tracking and covert experience to do the job, but it keeps senior citizens active.
This is Eastwood’s 41st film directed by the legend and by far one of his least interesting. It’s dull. Really dull. Not dull with a capital “D” but perhaps dull with a few extra “L’s.” This is surprising because he is working with an adapted script from Nick Schenk, who penned Eastwood’s The Mule and Gran Torino, winning the National Board of Review award for best original screenplay.
It’s stagnant and has very little excitement. Due to, in part, the age of the star. There is so little activity, the most exciting scenes consist of the rooster, Macho attacking people out of nowhere, and watching Eastwood attempt to throw out one of his trademark quippy lines. They feel forced and unnatural.
There is just something that is off throughout the film, from Yoakum’s miscast role as a complex villain with a silver lining to Minet’s overexpressing youngster. Watching the young actor try so hard is sometimes very painful. On top of that, everyone’s dialogue feels off and not in sync with the lead in the film. Eastwood is known for doing quick takes that give this film an extemporaneous experience. One can’t help but wonder if he was off his game here.
Eastwood attempted to right a wrong, along with the author, Nash. He tried to sell the original work as a film script before he turned it into a novel. They changed the ending for feel-good, which removes any teeth or redemption from the themes they started with.
While Cry Macho is beautifully shot, Eastwood casting himself as the role of a cowboy on his last ride is a mistake, since he can’t just put himself in any part anymore. Cry Macho an incredibly monotonous buddy road trip film with much less to say on anything of substantive value. It’s a derivative work of his own filmography that’s past his prime.