CRY MACHO (HBO) (2021)

SYNOPSIS: A one-time rodeo star and washed-up horse breeder takes a job from an ex-boss to bring the man's young son home from Mexico. Forced to take the backroads on their way to Texas, the unlikely pair faces an unexpectedly challenging journey, during which the world-weary horseman finds unexpected connections and his own sense of redemption.


When the legendary Clint Eastwood wants to make a slow, thoughtful drama about a washed-up rodeo star acting as a surrogate guardian to a teenager, you let the man do it. And that’s what Warner Bros did much to the dismay of Warner’s new CEO when Cry Macho underperformed at the box office with only a worldwide gross of just $15 million.

Number is a huge factor for a movie liked Cry Macho. The material is based on a more than four decades old novel by the late N. Richard Nash. At the age of 91, Eastwood directs and stars in the flick which is set in 1979. Given the “vintage” feel of it, it’s no surprise most contemporary movie-goers shunned away from it yet there’s an underlying casual, chill cowboy charm and cinematographer Ben Davis’ beautiful lensing certainly adds to it.

Ex-Texan rodeo star and now retired horse breeder Mike Milo (Eastwood) is tasked by his boss to go to Mexico to bring back his teenage son, Rafo (Eduardo Minett) from his estranged wife. With a father that is absence and a partying mother, Rafo turned to a life of crime and cockfights. It’s not long before Mike finally locate Rafo and the duo embarks on an adventurous road trip back to Texas together with Rafo’s rooster, Macho.

In many ways, Cry Macho is pretty similar to The Marksman which coincidentally was released in the same year. Both movies have an aging macho protagonist taking a young teenager under their wings although you can’t tell much of a difference if you simply swop out Liam Neeson for Eastwood or vice versa. Both showcases a sentimental story theme with some forgettable threats stuffed inbetween. And to top it all, the helmer of The Marksman was worked as an assistant director and producer for Eastwood.

Similarities aside, Cry Macho is a low-key class act for Eastwood anyway. Milo is a quiet man with few words but he sure knows how to tame a wild horse and convinced a fiery-tempered teenager with his cowboy style nuggets of wisdom. Along the way, there’s the henchman hired by Rafo’s mother to handle yet Milo still has the time to romance a widow. Simply put, this is not a movie about menacing cartel, corrupt cops or violent standoff. The works of Eastwood has certainly grown nuanced over the years but while not as compelling as The Mule and Gran Torino, it’s still a worthy watch if you have less than two hours to spare.


Review by Linus Tee



Genre: Drama
Clint Eastwood, Eduardo Minett, Natalia Traven, Fernanda Urrejola, Horacio Garcia-Rojas, Dwight Yoakam 
Director: Clint Eastwood
Rating: PG13
Year Made: 2021



Languages: English
Subtitles: English
Running Time: 1 hr 39 mins