Cry Macho rated PG-13
Cry Macho stars and is directed by four-time Oscar winner Clint Eastwood (Mystic River, Unforgiven, Million Dollar Baby). It was written by Nick Schenk, who also worked with Eastwood on Mule and Gran Torino, and is based on the 1975 novel by N. Richard Nash.
The 91-year-old Eastwood plays Mike Milo, a former rodeo star who was injured when thrown by a horse, and is now a horse breeder, shows up late to work. We get the impression it’s not the first time, and there is reference to him no longer being an effective horse trainer and perhaps alcohol and pills having been a contributing factor. As a result, his boss, Howard Polk, played by Dwight Yoakam, fires him.
The story then moves forward a year, and Polk, who we find out has looked after Milo since Mike lost his wife and daughter in a car accident, asks Mike to do a job for him. He asks him to go to Mexico and kidnap his now teenage son, who he hasn’t seen for years, from his ex-wife Leta, played by Fernanda Urrejola, and bring him back to live with him. But why does Polk want the boy back after all these years?
Leta lives in a mansion in Mexico, surrounded by bodyguards. She tells Mike that she doesn’t know for sure where the now 13-year-old Rafo, played by Eduardo Minett, is, though he may be cock fighting. Leta then tries to seduce Mike, which, with Eastwood being 91, was laughable.
Mike does find the boy at a cock fight with his rooster named Macho. He is eventually able to convince the boy to come with him to Texas to live with his father. Along the way, Mike tells Rafo that being macho is over-rated.
As Mike and Rafo head towards the Mexico/U.S. border where Howard will meet them, Mike finds out why Howard really wants the boy to be with him. On their trail are the police and one of Leta’s bodyguards.
The best part of the film is when the two come upon a small town where they sleep in a building that houses a shrine to the Virgin Mary. Soon, they are invited to stay at a small restaurant owned by the kind Marta, played by Natalia Traven. Marta is looking after her grandchildren and she and Mike quickly take a liking to each other. While in the town, Mike offers to help break in wild horses at a horse ranch as well as teaching Rafa how to ride. He also develops a reputation as a vet, as people bring their ailing animals to him.
Content concerns include adult language, including the abuse of God’s and Jesus’ names. Themes include loss, new starts and manipulation. There are also some Christian and Catholic references.
Eastwood is one of my favorite actors and directors, and I wanted to like this film. Unfortunately, the film moves along very slowly, almost putting me to sleep, and the dialogue was very poorly written. I also didn’t like the ending of the film, which was surprising given what Mike found out was the motivation for Rafo’s father wanting him to be with him in Texas.