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Blu-ray Review: Cry Macho

December 8, 2021

By John Corrado

★★ (out of 4)

Cry Macho, the latest film directed by Clint Eastwood, finds the veteran actor and filmmaker appearing in front of the camera once again, following his much touted “final role” in the 2018 film The Mule, to deliver what is now said to be his actual swan song as an onscreen performer.

Based on a 1975 novel of the same name by the late author N. Richard Nash, this film adaptation has been in and out of development for decades, before Eastwood finally decided to direct and star in it last year. The result is a somewhat stilted late career effort from Eastwood, that isn’t actively bad as much as it is just extremely bland.

Eastwood stars in the film as Mike Milo, an old rodeo star in Texas who is hired to to drive to Mexico City and retrieve a boy named Rafael (Eduardo Minett), the 13-year-old son of Mike’s old boss Howard (Dwight Yoakam). Howard’s reasoning is that the boy, a rough and tumble kid who has gotten into gambling and cockfighting with his rooster named Macho, will respect the authority of an old cowboy and agree to come along.

The script feels episodic in nature, as Mike drives across the border and tries to bring the boy safely back to America, with some expected detours along the way. Despite them being on the run, the action is kept to a minimum, and the story beats are thoroughly predictable. This familiarity wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing if the film itself wasn’t so uninspired in its execution. The biggest issue with Cry Macho is that it just isn’t that involving and lacks much in the way of excitement or suspense. The first stretch of the film is almost aggressively bland, with a plodding pace and on the nose dialogue.

While Eastwood is a filmmaker who is known for working quick, everything about this film feels conventional to a point, including the largely unimaginative angle-reverse angle cinematography by Ben Davis. The film does pick up somewhat around the midway point, when Mike and Rafael start to form a bond together, including a somewhat sweet subplot involving Marta (Natalia Traven), the owner of a local cantina in Mexico. There are a handful of tender moments here that remind us we are in the hands of an old pro. Eastwood appears much slower onscreen than he has before, and this does give a natural poignancy to some of his scenes.

But these few genuine character moments, which are matched by Mark Mancina’s pleasant musical score, unfortunately can’t fully save Cry Macho from feeling like an overly flat and rote effort overall, and the supporting performances are somewhat uneven. While The Mule also received a slightly mixed response, it at least had more energy to it. This might be Eastwood’s onscreen swan song, but it’s not going to remembered as his finest hour as either actor or director, and is ultimately little more than a minor entry into his illustrious filmography.

Bonus Features (Blu-ray):

The Blu-ray includes two bonus featurettes. A code for a digital copy is also included in the package, which comes with a slipcover.

Back in the Saddle: The Making of Cry Macho (12 minutes, 13 seconds): Eastwood talks about first being given the script nearly fifty years ago but feeling he was too young for the part at the time, and resurrecting it at 90-years-old with the help of producer Albert S. Ruddy (also 90), in this decent behind-the-scenes featurette. The cast members also talk about their characters and working with Eastwood, and the crew briefly touches on shooting in Mexico City.

Macho and the Mustangs (7 minutes, 19 seconds): A look at the roles that animals play in the film, including the use of trained horses to portray the wild ones seen in the movie, and Eastwood’s decision to get back in the saddle at 90 for the first time in thirty years. The featurette ends with an introduction to the ten different roosters that stood in for Macho.

Cry Macho is a Warner Bros. Home Entertainment release. It’s 104 minutes and rated PG.

Street Date: December 7th, 2021

One Comment leave one →
  1. December 16, 2021 12:34 pm

    Reblogged this on Whipped Owl and commented:
    Clint continues to amaze me with his longevity


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