HOLLYWOOD—I have said this before and I will say it again, Clint Eastwood is a master behind the camera and in front of the camera. He might be 91, but as a filmmaker he excels at crafting these stories that just pierce at the heart. His latest outing “Cry Macho” is not top tier movie making, but it is damn well done. Why? It has a slow burn, but that slow burn works to perfection people.
Now people have compared “Cry Macho” to a western, but it’s is not even close people. This is not a western and should not be compared to such because Clint’s character Mike wears a cowboy hat and used to be a rodeo champion. Yes, we do indeed get the backdrop of the country, the outdoors and Texas, and small tidbits of western motifs, but that is where it stops. The tale follow Mike (Eastwood), a lonely rodeo star who calls it quits after an injury. We also learn that his wife and son were killed in a car accident. He soon receives an offer from his boss, Howard Polk (Dwight Yoakam), to bring his son Rafo (Eduardo Minett) back to Texas and away from his mother in Mexico.
Long story short, Howard had a fling with a woman and had a child and hasn’t thought about that kid until as of recent, which the audience will learn more about WHY he wants to reunite with his son as the story unfolds. Mike is skeptical about taking the journey, but ultimately agrees. Now here is where I will make the argument that script is not as sharp. A White man traveling to Mexico to retrieve a Hispanic kid that looks nothing like him? That would indeed raise a red flag for most people unfortunately, and I’m not sure if that notion was considered in the storytelling arena.
The narrative really picks up once Mike arrives in Mexico meets Rafo’s mother, Leta (Fernanda Urrejola), who seems to have henchmen that watch over her. She is craving the attention of men and throws herself with any given opportunity people. I mean she even hits on Mike, this old, crummy guy, who immediately turns down her advances leading to threats and the battle for Mike to protect Rafo at all cost.
Minett is fantastic in the role he brings that heart that is a major driving element of the narrative in addition to the on screen chemistry between Eastwood that just works. Yes, I did get vibes of “Gran Torino” watching this movie where Eastwood played a character who took a youngster turning to a path of crime and allowing them to see there are other options out there. There is one particular scene where Rafo is sharing his story with Mike and his past, and talking about his mother and the bruises on his body, which just shatters your heart people. It is some fantastic acting from the youngster to say the least.
We see the bond between Mike and Rafo strengthen as the movie progresses and Mike makes it’s his mission to protect this teen and ensure to get him back to Mexico even if it results in him possibly losing his life. It’s honorable, but something I expect from a Clint Eastwood film. There is a little romance, there is a little danger, and the script does just enough to push that notion into your mind that something bad might happen at any moment and there are several scenes that are well choreographed as a result.
If I had to grip about anything with the movie it’s the fact that I wanted to a bit more danger. Danger is present, but not as potent as I wanted it to be. I kept trying and trying to figure out the meaning of the title of this movie, but it didn’t realize its purpose until end of the movie. I expected “Cry Macho” to be a good movie; I however, surprised myself with how intrigued I was with the film.