Clint Eastwood has just released his latest film, in which he is once again star and director.
In “Cry Macho”, the 91-year-old Hollywood icon plays Mike Milo, described in the film’s synopsis as “a one-time rodeo star and washed-up horse breeder who, in 1979, takes a job from an ex-boss to bring the man’s young son home from Mexico. Forced to take the backroads on their way to Texas, the unlikely pair faces an unexpectedly challenging journey, during which the world-weary horseman finds unexpected connections and his own sense of redemption.”
While the film has earned tepid reviews and a middling score on Rotten Tomatoes, writer/director/former film critic Paul Schrader has weighed in with a scathing take of his own.
“I can appreciate the inclination to give Clint Eastwood a pass but has an important American director made a film as bad as ‘Cry Macho’ since Howard Hawks’ ‘Man’s Favorite Spot’?” Schrader wrote on Facebook Friday.
“It fails in every area: screenwriting, lighting, locations, sets, props, wardrobe and casting. When, early on, Eastwood employs an under the car shot of a boot hitting the ground I thought, ‘Great, he’s going to riff on the stylizations of macho westerns’ — but that was the last interesting composition in the film,” continued Schrader, who wrote the screenplays for such critically acclaimed Oscar winners as “Taxi Driver” and “Raging Bull”, and more recently wrote and directed the acclaimed 2019 drama “First Reformed”.
“Sure, Clint is given a few cliché ridden passages about the futility of machismo but these only have value because a shrunken ‘Dirty Harry’ is giving voice to them,” Schrader added. “These character insights had value 30 years ago. It was like listening to a criminal apologize to the family of his victims in hopes that the judge will cut him a lesser sentence.”