November 10, 2021
He remains a magnetic presence, but can’t sustain interest in this dated tale, which would have us believe the 91-year-old remains a ladykiller
Cry Macho review – even Clint Eastwood can’t rescue ropey western
There’s a creak of old leather (and other things) in this outrageously dated and hokey sentimental western, made from a script that had been knocking around the industry for decades; it’s a Swiss cheese of bizarre plot-holes set in 1979, clearly because that is when it was conceived. Only the residual charisma and fascination of its director-star Clint Eastwood keeps it from sinking completely, and only this living legend could get away with asking us to believe that his character is devastatingly attractive to two different younger Women, his female co-stars here being 40 and 52.
Eastwood plays Mike, a veteran Texan ranch-hand who lost his wife and son to a car accident and in the first scene gets fired by his grumpy boss Howard (Dwight Yoakam) on account of his subsequent addiction to pills and booze. (We never see any sign of this addiction, and if Mike is supposed to be in recovery, it’s pretty laidback: he enjoys a cold beer in one scene.) Then a year later, this same Howard has evidently revised his opinion of Mike so far as to entrust him with the Job of going to Mexico and rescuing Howard’s teenage son Rafo (Eduardo Minett) from his Mexican ex-girlfriend, a kind of mob matriarch whom he believes has let the boy be abused in some nameless way. Mike heads south, gallantly declines a freely offered sexytime experience from Rafo’s raunchy mum Leta (Fernanda Urrejola), finds Rafo with absolute ease at a local cock-fight and so begins the hazardous journey home with Rafo and Rafo’s pet rooster, poignantly named “Macho” (the film’s one intentional irony) while being pursued by Leta’s goons. They have a stopover at a flyblown village where local cafe owner Marta (Natalia Traven) is also clearly smitten by the old cowboy.
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