#movie review, #Film, #Cinema
Sep 19, 2021
Review: Cry Macho (2021)
Based on a novel by N. Richard Nash, Cry Macho languished in development hell for over thirty years. At that time, many notable actors were attached to the picture, including Burt Lancaster, Roy Scheider, Pierce Brosnan, and even Arnold Schwarzenegger. The first actor approached would eventually not only play the main character but direct the film. But is this a good thing?
I would argue that as a director, Clint Eastwood (who also stars), hasn’t lost a step—only a little perspective. As an actor, he’s great but is miscast in this film.
Eastwood has plenty of charm, tenderness, and grit. Certainly necessary to play Mike Milo. He would have been the right actor to play him thirty years ago, but at 90, Eastwood’s too old for some scenes. He has not one, but two, female love interests! The first doesn’t work at all. Did I mention he’s 90 years old?! The second works a little better but still stretches believability. Then there’s a scene where Eastwood gets on his hands and knees to look under a car. I wondered if he’d be able to get back up again!
I don’t say this with malice. I’ve been a fan of Eastwood since my dad brought me to see Any Which Way But Loose (1978) in the theater. Arguably, not a great movie, but I’m still a little nostalgic for it.
The death of Mike’s wife and child ruined his life. His rodeo career ruined his body. He owes Howard Polk (Dwight Yoakam) a debt for supporting him all these years. Polk wants Mike to repay that debt by traveling to Mexico to find his son and take him from his abusive mother.
Dwight Yoakam’s performance isn’t up to his normal standard. Maybe it’s just that he didn't have a lot to work with. Rafael “Rafo” Polk, the wayward son, is played by Eduardo Minett. Minett is fine but his character comes off a little annoying. Also, the whole macho concept and symbolism are muddled here. The rooster that Rafael carries around might be my favorite character in the film.
The pacing drags and unintentional laughs abound. Despite all this, I found Cry Macho growing on me. It’s a sweet film. Maybe with a different lead actor, the picture could have reached its potential.
Casting a younger actor, say a sixty-year-old, would have gone a long way in getting this film to work. If Eastwood had leaned into his age, adding some self-deprecating humor, it would have made the film not only more believable but more fun.
Two out of five stars.