Cry Macho

By Joanna Langfield

We have to assume there are reasons why a 91 year old filmmaker would take on a new project. And, after a rather bumpy start, Clint Eastwood slyly lets us know, yes, there are. And those reasons are conveyed with such low key adeptness, they, and the sweet story around them, almost feel like buried treasure.

Eastwood puts on the cowboy hat again, starring as a washed up handler, just fired and living in a Texas desert house with stuff nobody’d want to steal. His former boss, (Dwight Yoakam) shows up, insisting Miko cross the border into Mexico and rescue the son the rodeo owner had abandoned years before. There aren’t a whole lot of surprises here, except for the fact that I actually found myself with a tear or two, not over the story, but thanks to Eastwood’s performance, which proves what an accomplished veteran can do.

I haven’t read the novel on which the screenplay is drawn, but I can’t imagine the few moral punchlines were handled with the same deceptively quiet power. Of course, the timing of a compassionate story involving people who live a border apart, is no accident. But, there’s more. At one point, when trying to comfort an aging dog and his family, Miko whispers “I can’t fix old. But we do the best we can”. And the “big moment” speech, the one about machismo we all knew was coming, is delivered so perfectly, you can feel how important it must be to Eastwood, the iconic tough guy who has, once in a while, reminded us that tough aint all it’s cracked up to be. Maybe this version of that isn’t one of his best, but it’s lovely to see him keep at it, doing the best he can.