The legendary Clint Eastwood returns in-game as the Director and star of Cry Macho.
A lone wanderer Mike Milo; once a rodeo star, with a wrinkly face, cowboy hat, and a traumatic past goes on a mission assigned by his ex-boss. Mike’s mission is to cross the border and travel to Mexico City to retrieve the boss’s 13-year-old son; Rafo who’s run away from his mother and is living on the streets. It is a sort of reflection movie by Clint Eastwood like his previous project the 2018 movie; “The Mule”. It is impressive to witness a four-time Academy Award winner not letting anything get in the way of his passion, at the age of 91. To not only star in but also direct a movie with his full potential.
The movie is an adaptation of the novel “Cry Macho” by N Richard Nash. Clint Eastwood directs this movie in a very laid-back style. Mike has a risky job to do but he doesn’t show any urgency and drives his way through Mexico enjoying the scenery as if on a long drive. This reflects upon the personality of Mike; he’s on a mission on a tight schedule and has to encounter goons from time to time. He does not assert the typical angry young man dominance, but rather stays calm and composed.
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Rafo, on the other hand, is a teenager who faces regular abuse from his mother. He is into cockfighting, and loves his rooster, Macho, and voices his motto; ” Trust no one”. This movie isn’t just a typical adventure set in the ’80s, it is rather a tale of soul-searching while exploring the relationship between two men; who are conflicted by their own beliefs.
The moment of reflection in Cry Macho
In the beginning, Rafo declines traveling with Mike, but when Mike tells him about his father’s plan to make him a cowboy and to let him ride horses he gets excited and leaves with Mike. While on their journey, the two are attacked by Letta goon (Rafo’s mother) who doesn’t want her son to leave. After being unable to make a straight run back, they take refuge at a restaurant for some days. They become friends with Marta, the restaurant owner who finds Mike attractive. Staying there together helps develop Mike and Rafo’s relationship. Mike teaches him how to ride horses. It is during this time frame, where Mike and Rafo start to re-evaluate things.
What being Macho really means?
While being on the journey homeward, Mike tells Rafo that being tough has left him old and lonely. He hints at the fact that being macho doesn’t mean that one has to do everything alone. The film ends on a different note than the novel. Eastwood by changing it really tries to amend the macho image that men are expected to carry, the film implies that it is okay for men to be dependent, and to not figure out everything by themselves.
I used to be a lot of things, but I’m not now. And I’ll tell you something. This macho thing is overrated. Works perfect for him, but it’s overrated. Just people trying to be macho to show that they’ve got grit. That’s about all they end up with……. You think you got all the answers, then you realize as you get old, that you don’t have any of them. By the time you figure it out, it’s too late.Mike Milo
In many ways, Rafo is a reflection of Mike. Both have darkness in their pasts, but neither of them likes to depend on another. However, in the end, Mike chooses to be with Marta, and Rafo unites with his dad. Ultimately they both end up uprooting the false ideas surrounding masculinity and save each other from being burdened by its toxicity.
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