Cry Macho Review

It’s 1980, and former rodeo star and washed-up horse-breeder Mike Milo (Clint Eastwood) is tasked with retrieving his old boss’ son (Eduardo Minett) from Mexico and bringing him to Texas. Along the way, Mike encounters various friendly and unfriendly locals and meets café owner Marta (Natalia Traven), leading to some life-changing decisions.

by James White |
Published on
Release Date:

12 Nov 2021

Original Title:

Cry Macho

In its earliest scenes, you could easily label Clint Eastwood’s latest directing/starring effort ‘Cry Expo’, clumsily keying the audience in through exposition on who exactly Mike Milo is. Dwight Yoakam’s pissed-off rancher Howard rattles off a laundry list of Eastwood’s character’s various faults and troubles to the man who has lived through them all. That’s immediately followed by a slow pan across newspaper clippings and trophies that offer precisely the same information, leading you to assume Eastwood might be losing his touch as a filmmaker. Those worries don’t ease until midway through this shaggy-dog (shaggy-cockerel?) story, when Cry Macho finally finds its vibe.


It’ll please fans of Eastwood who were hoping that he would return to the Western milieu that once made him famous, though this new outing doesn’t deliver the raw, profound themes of an Unforgiven. Nor is it a keen deconstruction of the masculine tropes that the actor/director once embodied and occasionally still clings to.

Dusting off a script that has lingered in development limbo for decades, the prolific, 91-year-old filmmaker has fashioned something that feels of a piece with Gran Torino (and shares screenwriter Nick Schenk). Here, Eastwood’s Mike schools a young-’un (Eduardo Minett) and hits upon a way back to life in the last place he expects to find it, all while showing he’s more than just another gruff loner. Sadly, the returning writer/director combo also repeats the uncomfortable all-women-love-our-leathery-lead wish-fulfilment of The Mule.

Not to worry: time spent in the company of this weathered, mournful man and the teen he’s entrusted to transport isn’t entirely wasted, and there is a solid story in place. Eastwood and Minett share an easy chemistry, and there are a few other solid performances. It’s just a problem when your single-most compelling character is a rooster.

Eastwood’s back with a look at manliness filtered through the wisdom of aging. It makes the odd stultifying stop and falls into several cliché potholes, yet Cry Macho ultimately finds its way.
Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us