The Harder They Fall (2021)
Directed by: Jeymes Samuel | 139 minutes | action, drama, western | Actors: Chase Dillon, DeWanda Wise, Julio Cesar Cedillo, Jonathan Majors, Manny Rubio, Edi Gathegi, Damon Wayans Jr., Woody McClain, RJ Cyler, Danielle Deadwyler, Torrey B. Lawrence, Zazie Beetz
With ‘The Harder They Fall’, director Jeymes Samuel delivers anything but a classic western. Not often did we see black cowboys, black gangsters or black sheriffs, while there were indeed – as we read in an opening statement: “While the events of this story are fictional… These. people. Existed.” Samuel brings them together in an original film (obviously influenced by directors like Quentin Tarantino) led by a strong cast that includes Jonathan Majors, Idris Elba and Regina King.
As a child, Nat Love (Majors) witnesses the murder of his parents, shot in cold blood at the dinner table by outlaw Rufus Buck (Elba). Years later, when Nat Love hears Buck is free, he calls his gang together to deal with him once and for all. The plot of the film is otherwise quite thin, but it does what it’s supposed to do: it allows the filmmaker to play with the western genre, which makes for a surprising and entertaining film.
The opening scene jumps off the screen and immediately sets the tone for a movie full of revenge, shoot-outs and blood spatter. The film does not lack insane wideshots that typify the classic western, but with Tarantino-like shooting scenes and colorful titles on screen, ‘The Harder They Fall’ remains a dynamic and energetic whole. This is further underlined by the daring soundtrack that alternates hip-hop with gospel and jazz – music genres that blend remarkably well with this film genre.
‘The Harder They Fall’ is something different again and that is to be commended by the filmmakers. An ideal film for an evening of Netflix on the couch, where you can sit back and be well entertained.