50th year of his directing career which he began since directing Play Misty for Me in 1971, Cry Macho, which was adapted from the novel of the same name by N. Richard Nash, has suffered a number of failures to achieve its goals. executed into a big screen story presentation. Starting in 1988, producer Albert S. Ruddy offered Eastwood the lead role in Cry Macho which was later turned down due to Eastwood’s commitment to star in the latest sequel to the Dirty Harry film series , The Dead Pool.(Buddy Van Horn, 1988). The process of making the film version of Cry Macho then involved names such as Robert Mitchum, Roy Scheider, Burt Lancaster, Pierce Brosnan, to Arnold Scwarzenegger as the main character but none of the film projects could be completed. More than three decades later, in 2020 to be exact, Warner Bros. Pictures announced that Eastwood will direct and star in Cry Macho which is still using Nash’s original script with some modifications made by Nick Schenk ( The Judge , 2014).
It is told, a former rodeo star from Texas, United States, Mike Milo (Eastwood), is hired by his former boss, Howard Polk ( Dwight Yoakam ), to pick up his son who is now a teenager, Rafael Polk ( Eduardo Minett ), and has been in the care of his mother, Leta ( Fernanda Urrejola), in Mexico. Meeting and trying to persuade Rafael Polk to come with him back to the United States was not a difficult problem for Mike Milo. It turns out that Rafael Polk has been wanting to meet his biological father for a long time and is even more excited after hearing that his father owns a horse farm. With a number of items and a rooster he named Macho, Rafael Polk prepared to go with Mike Milo. However, problems arise when Leta sends one of his workers, Aurelio ( Horacio Garcia Rojas ), to block Mike Milo’s journey and bring back Rafael Polk.
Cry Macho is definitely not a presentation that can stand on a par with Eastwood’s best films. The plot of the story is quite simple. Too simple, in fact. The theme is quite familiar: the main character who is told as a grouch who lives in solitude and no longer cares about himself or others around him due to a tragedy in the past, meets a new character that he doesn’t like at first but, slowly , then brought him to a number of sides of life that he thought he would never meet again. A similar theme and tone of storytelling can even be felt in the two films directed and starring by Eastwood and the story scripts were also worked on by Schenk, Gran Torino (2008) andThe Mule (2018).
However, it is not the impression of repetition of the story theme that makes Cry Machofeel weak. The work of characters and conflicts that Schenk presented in the initial story script written by Nash – who had died in 2000 – was so monotonous. Schenk has never been able to outline a complete or convincing story about the journey that the main character goes through, the various relationships he has with a number of characters he meets, as well as the various emotional upheavals that he then feels as a result of these relationships. Tasteless. Eastwood also directs the film with a tedious storytelling tempo – especially in the middle half of the film where Schenk’s story script just runs in place and repeats the same conflict before the film then moves forward to the final half of its storytelling.
With the main character who is told to face a number of physical and mental challenges to be able to complete his task, it is easy to imagine Cry Macho coming as a film similar to the action films that Liam Neeson has starred in in recent years. The existence of Eastwood, who is now 91 years old, to play the main character, clearly has a strong influence on why many scenes that actually have the potential to highlight interesting action elements then feel “simplified” in execution. The material for this film’s story is indeed more appropriate for Eastwood to play when this film was first offered to him three decades ago.
The awkwardness of Eastwood’s appearance can not only be felt when Cry Macho tries to explore the action elements in the storyline. The chemistry that Eastwood displays when he’s side by side with Minett or when he tries to bring the elements of romance to life with Marta’s character ( Natalia Traven ) – an element of romance which is quite strange considering the ages of the two actors who are quite far apart – also never manages to feel convincing. Supported by beautiful images produced by cinematographer Ben Davis and musical accompaniment presented by composer Ben Davisindeed able to make a number of scenes feel alive. Unfortunately, Eastwood’s lack of direction in the storyline – which from the start seemed shallow – and the appearance of the actors in the film’s acting department made Cry Macho never able to really feel interesting to follow.