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‘Cry Macho’ Offers Clint Eastwood an Affecting But Meandering Farewell

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Clint, a boy, and a cock named Macho walk into a bar…

Warner Bros.

By Rob Hunter · Published on September 24th, 2021

Clint Eastwood‘s first directorial feature (Play Misty for Me) hit screens way back in 1971, and half a century later he’s delivered his forty-first. It’s an incredible feat for any filmmaker, but it’s all the more so in that Eastwood also plays a lead role in the vast majority of them. It’s a rare case of a director knowing his star better than anyone else, and to that end it’s perhaps fitting that Cry Macho feels somewhat like a knowing goodbye to a character, an icon, and to the audience themselves.

Mike Milo (Eastwood) is an ex-rodeo star, ex-horse trainer, ex… a lot of things, and when we first meet him he’s being made an ex-employee by a man named Howard (Dwight Yoakam). A short while later, though, and Howard is back asking Mike for a favor — head down to Mexico, pick up Howard’s teenage son without upsetting the boy’s criminally minded mother, and bring him back to Texas. Simple enough, perhaps, but the pieces don’t quite come together meaning Mike and the kid are stuck south of the border a bit longer than anticipated. They bicker, they fight, they bond over a cock named Macho. We know how this goes.

Cry Macho moves at its own intentionally meandering pace — we feel each rickety step, each rotation of a truck wheel — and while beats arrive with outcomes we know by heart they’re actually avoided here. Physical violence rears its head but quickly........

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