davidehrlich’s review published on Letterboxd:
In a world so impatient that people have started to whine about the injustice of movies playing in theaters for a few weeks before they (finally!) become available to watch at home, Clint Eastwood has spent the last 33 years waiting for the right time to make a sleepy, featherlight neo-Western about a widowed old rodeo star with nothing to live for, and the rooster named Macho who shows him the strength he needs to find new purpose.
The Hollywood legend first considered adapting M. Richard Nash’s “Cry Macho” in 1988, but at the spry age of 58, he felt too young to play the lead, and decided to make another “Dirty Harry” sequel instead. During the three decades that followed, however, he never forgot about the project, nor the lifetime of double-edged masculine swagger that it distilled into a single word. Wherever Eastwood went, “macho” went with him.
Look closely at his character in “Unforgiven” and you’ll find it lurking behind Will Munny’s wet green eyes like an undiagnosed aneurysm: Macho. Zoom in on any one of the bridges of Madison County and you can see it carved into the wood: Macho. It followed Eastwood to outer space, aboard the 15:17 to Paris, and into the deeply embarrassed backgrounds of his ex-wife’s reality television show; it lingered in his mind throughout baseball’s steroid crisis, MAGA fever, and a new age of action star beefcakes so yoked that even Paul Rudd has to have 14 abs.
Now 91 years old and feeble enough to instill Tom Cruise levels of snuff film suspense just by climbing onto a stationary horse, Eastwood has finally decided the time is right to make a movie about the kind of strength that allows a man to survive in this country — at long last, Macho is coming home to roost.