Cry Macho film review (2021)

Clint Eastwood still keeps his persona intact with his latest effort, but Cry Macho is almost too simple of a film, delivering nothing special or memorable.

Like many film buffs, I’m a huge fan of Clint Eastwood. The man is an absolute legend in the industry and he’s been involved in it for so long as an actor, director, and producer. What’s most impressive is he’s 91 years old and he’s still continuing to deliver quality films for all of us to see. His latest effort, Cry Macho, definitely shows his age since obviously, his physicality isn’t what it used to be. I also think it’s one of those movies that doesn’t live up to the greatness we’ve come to see from him. Is it a bad film? Well, not necessarily, but it’s simplicity sometimes makes it falter, while rarely giving the audience anything new or exciting to enjoy while watching.

Cry Macho tells the story of a former rodeo star who takes a job from an old boss of his. He is tasked with traveling to Mexico and bringing his ex-boss’ estranged son back to him in Texas. Although a bit reluctant when meeting him at first, they both go on a journey and while he teaches the young boy what it means to be a man, he’s also learning new things about the boy, and himself, along the way.

As mentioned before, Eastwood is a legend and he’s responsible for one of my favorite films of all time, that being Million Dollar Baby. However, with the exception of some of his recent movies, such as Richard Jewell, Sully, and American Sniper, he’s largely been hit or miss. For example, The Mule and Jersey Boys weren’t anything special. The 15:17 to Paris was laughably bad at times as well. Out of respect for him though, I can’t flat out say he’s losing his touch since he’s still showing glimpses of greatness from time to time. That being said, I don’t think Cry Macho is a proper showcase of what he’s really capable of creating.

If there’s one word to describe it, it’s generic. From the very beginning, being a neo-western, it never grabs your attention and separates itself from the pack. Since Eastwood has been known for both starring and directing in so many westerns, you would think this is his bread and butter. At times, you see the vintage expertise is definitely there. But, overall, when you compare it to other classics, such as Unforgiven and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, it’s not even remotely close. It does absolutely nothing to elevate both the western or the drama genre and at times, it doesn’t feel like a western.

The acting, for the most part, is pretty awful as well. Eastwood has done this in the past, which is hire non-actors to perform in his films, and it shows when they start reciting lines of dialogue. Most of their tones are insanely monotone and there’s no passion in what they’re saying. They’re rarely convincing in the movie and it really takes a lot away from the overall viewing experience. Other films he’s done this in include The 15:17 to Paris and Gran Torino, where you can clearly see the inexperience in acting and performing whenever they speak.

As for Eastwood, he doesn’t do anything special either, but he’s absolutely the best part of the movie. He still shows shades of the tough man persona with his raspy and intimidating voice. He’s also very quick-witted, as usual, and has some moments of cleverness and humor. Then again, he’s been much better in his previous work. But, as mentioned, he’s definitely why you’ll want to see this movie in the first place. His relationship with the boy he’s bring back to Texas, Rafael (Eduardo Minett), is also another charming dynamic. At first, they don’t like each other, which is pretty obvious because of Rafael’s recklessness and disrespect. Once they finally get going though, their bond begins to grow deeper and they both begin to learn more about each other. Mike (Eastwood) is teaching him all about manhood with his actions, while Rafael is showing him how to sympathize with others, being that Mike is a bit bitter and down on his luck at the start. Seeing this relationship flourish between the two is also another highlight of the film.

The story is something you’ve seen before. It doesn’t feel original in any way and it borrows quite a bit from other stories. It begins to become highly predictable at times and you can almost tell how it’s going to end as you’re nearing its conclusion. That being said, it isn’t trying to be anything else either. Eastwood knows the story he’s trying to tell and it’s a feel-good one at that. Cry Macho may simply be a family movie to enjoy and nothing more, which is perfectly fine. I was expecting more is all.

Eastwood’s Mike and his journey with Rafael are what standout the most in this otherwise lackluster western-drama. There are some quality character moments here and there with some banter to go along with it. Ultimately, it doesn’t do enough for me to really rave about it, sadly. It’s fine to watch with some loved ones to enjoy an uplifting message, but I can’t recommend it much when there are so many other better options to watch. When you look at this full filmography, which spans more than 50-years, Cry Macho doesn’t really come close to greatness he’s put out throughout his illustrious and impressive career.

Score: C-

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