Clint Eastwood is back with his newest film, Cry Macho, but this could very well mark the end of the line for the screen legend.
Set aside whatever you think of Eastwood’s politics for a moment, this year sees the release of Eastwood’s 42nd film as a director. Dating back to his directorial debut in 1971, he’s also starred in a bit over 20 films in which he directed. With his output, it’s rare in that there’s a year in which we don’t get a new Clint Eastwood movie. Going back to 2000, there are just five years in which there are no new Eastwood films. However, there were three different years in which we got two new Eastwood releases. Again, this speaks to his reliability as a filmmaker. It’s on a similar output to that of Woody Allen and others when it comes to releasing a new film into the market.
Mike Milo (Clint Eastwood) is a former rodeo star and in 1979, his career as a horse breeder isn’t doing so well either. As such, he has no choice but to do a job for his ex-boss, Howard Polk (Dwight Yoakam). Even if he goes about it in his own way, when Mike takes a job, he’s the type to go through with it. In this case, Mike must travel down to Mexico in order to bring his ex-boss’s son, Rafo (Eduardo Minett), home. It wouldn’t be a film without having some sort of challenges on their journey back to Texas! For one, Rafo doesn’t really trust people. Nor would it be complete without Mike having a redemption arc. It turns out that Mike and Rafo need each other more than they might realize.
There’s a security team that Rafo’s mom, Leta (Fernanda Urrejola) dispenses to go after them. This is what brings cantina owner Marta (Natalia Traven) into the picture. You could certainly make the argument that Marta finds a way into Mike’s heart.
This was cinematographer Ben Davis’s first time working on a Clint Eastwood movie. He has a way of giving the film some beautiful imagery. With Clint wearing a hat, the biggest challenge is lighting his eyes. Given Mike’s past, so to speak, maybe it’s just fitting for his character.
The film is based on N. Richard Nash’s novel so it’s not like they could update the year and add some commentary about immigration, etc. Nick Schenk’s rewrites play to Eastwood’s strengths as a script should. Funny enough, this film has been some 40 years in the making! Film producer Albert S. Ruddy once asked Eastwood to do the project. However, Eastwood felt he was too young and that he should direct the adaptation instead. Years later, Eastwood finally brings N. Richard Nash’s book to the screen. Things have a way of coming full circle in more ways than one. Westerns are a big reason as to why Eastwood is a screen legend. And in this film, Eastwood once again rides a horse. He’s not on it for long but it’s one of those moments that fans ought to appreciate.
When I watched Cry Macho on Saturday night, it was with this sense of knowing that this could be it. Cry Macho is far from Clint Eastwood’s best output in an almost 70-year career but it’s probably going to be his last. This isn’t the best Eastwood movie but it’s far from the worst.
DIRECTOR: Clint Eastwood
SCREENWRITERS: Nick Schenk and N. Richard Nash
CAST: Clint Eastwood, Eduardo Minett, Natalia Traven, with Dwight Yoakam