Clint Eastwood has been making “old legend goes on one final ride” films for a while now, with “Unforgiven” (1992), “Million Dollar Baby” (2004), “Gran Torino” (2008) and “The Mule” (2019) coming to mind. His newest film,“Cry Macho,” feels like Eastwood writing another chapter into this type of film that symbolizes his status as an old legend of American filmmaking.
Where “Cry Macho” diverges from these other films though, is its focus on Eastwood as a kindhearted and caring soul. While he still may be an asskicker who will fight if he has to, he would much rather deal with issues with words and kindness than with fists.
There is definitely an overarching message of what it truly means to be considered “macho,” and that it doesn’t lie in physical strength or abilities.
Being macho instead comes from doing the right thing, even when the going gets tough, with or without physical strength.
“Cry Macho” follows the story of Mike Milo, a washed-up rodeo star who embarks on a quest to return his ex-boss’s young son to him from Mexico. Mike quickly forms a bond with the young boy, Rafo, and his pet rooster, Macho, and the two learn a number of life lessons from one another on their journey to cross back over the U.S./Mexican border.
It’s hard to watch this film and not consider Eastwood’s age as a major factor of both the filmmaking on display, as well as the story being told. At 91, Eastwood is most definitely in the final chapter of his career, so it can feel like the messages and tones conveyed in the film could act as a sort of final words and send-off for Eastwood’s long and varied filmmaking career.
This film is far from perfect, with a number of awkward decisions made as a result of Eastwood’s narrow perspective – including a significant amount of Mexican stereotypes.
Eastwood also plays up his character as a lady’s man, resulting in a number of scenes involving middle-aged to younger women flirting with him, a 91-year-old man.
For what it’s worth, though, the film overall works as a nice and kindhearted send-off to Eastwood’s career. Assuredly, this film will do wonders as a fulfilling and possibly final chapter, especially to those that are fans of his massive filmography.
“Cry Macho” is now playing in theaters, and is also available on HBO Max until Oct. 17.