His voice became more fragile. The old cowboy stride carries the weight of a hunched back. He is better in the saddle than standing. The Pale Rider today has the face of a grandfather. But perhaps for this reason we have never loved Clint Eastwood as much as we do today, at the age of 91, in this forty-fourth film of his as a director. “Cry Macho – Homecoming”, premiered at the Torino Film Festival, will be in cinemas from 2 December.
The novel by N. Richard Nash from which it is based is a story in itself. Since 1975, Hollywood had considered Mike Milo’s charismatic role for Roy Sheider, Arnold Shwarzenegger, Robert Mitchum, among others. Eastwood had always loved him too, but he was too young to play him. Today (rewriting it with Nash and with his screenwriter of “The Mule” and “Gran Torino”, Nick Shenk) he brings him a quiet wisdom that makes him forgive even certain inconsistencies from exceeded age limits.
Minor film, certainly, but with subtleties and self-irony against the light all to be intercepted, “Cry Macho” is a coming-of-age road movie, a genre dear to Clint, both as an interpreter and as a director. The suspense is missing and Clint is no longer of age for fist fights, but rhythms and places and horses are what he loves, there is that classic breath of direction that reconciles you with cinema, and it is as if Ours were reviewing fragments of something else. , “A Perfect World”, “The Bridges of Madison County”, “Honkytonk Man”.
The Macho of the title – first irony – far from being Clint, is a chicken, pardon, a fighting cock. Because Mike Milo, a former rodeo star retired for consuming the tragic loss of his wife and son between alcohol and pills, is hired by his old employer to bring his 13-year-old son back with his mother to Texas, Mexico. . And the rebellious little boy (because he is mistreated at home) is inseparable from his rooster: an unusual but precious puppy, as we will see.
The return trip will be prolonged beyond measure: many pitfalls conspire, but galeotta is above all an oasis of peace in which Clint and Rafo (Eduardo Minett, not very good but protagonist of many Mexican TV series) will discover that another life is possible. The oasis is a remote village of that Mexico armored by Trump behind the Wall.
Here Milo will be able to assert his talents as a tamer of wild mustangs (stunts are inevitable), he will become for the farmers a sort of Doctor Dolittle healer of sheep, dogs and pigs, and he will even be able to replicate the ‘slow’ Romantics with Meryl Streep de ” The Bridges of Madison County ”thanks to a welcoming and kind landlady (Natalia Traven).
Even in his nineties Clint renounced the coquetry of seduction, and some American critics made fun of the advances he receives “with his arthritic bones” from the rich and prosperous mother of the boy, even before the landlady. But it is a venial sin that is gladly forgiven him: he is not like the late John Wayne, he makes no secret of his new frailty, he willingly allows himself naps as an elderly man.
Also because the film allows him to reflect aloud, with wisdom and self-irony, on his half-century-long legend, and on old age itself. “Once you were tough, a macho, now you are weak,” the boy tells him. “This thing of macho is overrated,” he replies. And he adds: “When you are young you think you have all the answers, but when you get old you realize you don’t have any”. It’s not Milo, it’s Clint speaking, in first person.