I’ve seen first-hand the stress that accompanies the role of director. You count on a lot of things being in the right place at the right time. It’s not what you would call a relaxing job, but Clint Eastwood has taken his decade of experience as an actor and used this to establish, what must be, some of the most mellow sets to be on. Every time he appears in our cinemas, it’s pretty remarkable to think he is still working at the age of 91. But that’s devotion to the craft for you. When you have incomparable successes as both someone behind and in front of the camera, that is legacy. Cry Macho however is a film that will not add to that legacy, and while it sounds resoundingly disrespectful to criticise anyone of Eastwood’s stature, I have to bite the bullet and say Cry Macho is not good at all.
The only strong point to this film is the only reason why you would pay for a ticket, you get to see a living legend do what he does best. Watching Clint Eastwood on the cinema screen is like going to see an icon of an art form. You’re paying to see a living legend, so that later down the line you can have one of those “I was there…” conversations. He may not be at his best, but I didn’t care about that, I just wanted to see someone devoted to the craft of acting…act.
Here’s the rub however, why can’t Clint motivate his supporting cast to be just as devoted as he is? Eastwood’s character, Mike Milo chauffeurs his ex-boss’s son Rafo (Eduardo Minett) back to America away from his neglectful mother. The beating heart in this story should be the bonding between Mike and Rafo, but while Eastwood is trying to do the best he can, it feels like Minett isn’t even trying. His delivery is strictly monotone and struggles with the basics of getting the characters’ emotions to reach the audience. A part of me feels that I should tone down because he’s a young actor who could still blossom into something, but even child actors who have never acted before have given better, even memorable performances. I think even the chicken puts in a better performance than most in this film.
The story is jam-packed with so many neo-western cliches, it is as if the script was written by a screenwriting program with tags like horse bonding, seductress, quaint town in the desert etc. which coincidentally are all in Cry Macho. But I suppose the biggest disappointment in the story is just how quickly intense sequences are either shut down or end up going nowhere. For instance, there is a scene where Clint and Rafo are being tailed by police and you think to yourself that these cops must have been paid off to bring Rafo back to his mother. Nope, just a random drug search. You’re sitting there thinking what was the point of all that build-up, getting audiences ready for something intense and not following through with it? It’s absolutely baffling that no one spoke up about this. You have the actor that made standoffs cool and you don’t let him have a standoff for more than 30 seconds?
Because there’s little in the way of tension, Cry Macho can feel like a road movie where not a lot happens apart from going from one place to another. This slow pacing is typical for a neo-western, but you have to put already established elements into good use. Mike’s character as an ex-rodeo for the longest time does not matter to the story, not until he tends to animals, but by then the fact he was an ex-rodeo doesn’t even need to be part of his character. Clint does scenes in one take because you lose emotion with repetition, well information relevant to the character is also lost if not used enough.
In the first ten minutes of the film, Mike is already told by his ex-boss to rescue his son and in the blink of an eye, he’s already crossed the border and in Mexico. I was sat there thinking that anyone in the audience who went for a toilet break is already going to have so many questions like “what happened along the way?”. Then you have this strange sequence where Rafo’s mother Leta (Fernanda Urrejola) comes on the Mike in a hilarious drunken performance, you honestly forget to laugh just due to how surreal it feels.
It’s pretty obvious that Clint Eastwood is going to continue making films for as long as he’ll live, no matter if he makes masterpieces or flops, I just hope that he’ll be able to end his legendary career with a film that is worthy of his legacy, Cry Macho is not that film. It has a disastrous story that has little to no drama and performances from actors who should be motivated to give it their best considering they’re acting alongside a living legend. I’ve read a couple of articles calling for Clint to retire which, with sincere honesty, is disgusting. It is absolutely unfair to call for Eastwood’s retirement from film after Cry Macho because for many, filmmaking isn’t a career, it’s a passion, and it’s difficult to put something you’re passionate about behind you. So although I want to see more from Eastwood, I know he’s better than whatever Cry Macho is.
Final Result: 2/10 – Very Poor
Have you seen Cry Macho? What did you think? Please let me know your thoughts and opinions in the comments below.
Next Time: Ghostbusters: Afterlife