The Best Western In Years
I am a huge fan of westerns. Unforgiven is one of my favorite films of all time. Clint Eastwood, John Wayne, Sergio Leone, John Ford, and so many others have kept me entertained for years. When I heard of a Western with an entirely Black cast of both young and established actors, I was very intrigued. The hype lived up to my expectations — The Harder they Fall is everything I thought it could be and more.
The film consists of two rival gangs who are out to get one another. The leader of one of the gangs, Nat Love (Jonathan Majors, The Last Black Man in San Francisco) finds out the leader of the other gang, with whom he has issues from a previous encounter, Rufus Buck (Idris Elba) is getting out of prison. Buck and his gang are trying to get back their place as the leaders of a town, so they need some money to get back on top again. Love means to stop this from happening.
The cast of this film is stacked with Black actors we’ve seen in various films and tv projects over the past five or so years. The cast includes Zazie Beetz (Deadpool 2), Lakieth Stanfield (Sorry to Bother You, Judas and the Black Messiah), Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk), Delroy Lindo (The Cider House Rules, Da 5 Bloods) and the list goes on and on. They all play real-life characters even though this particular story may not necessarily be all that true.
Director Jeymes Samuel has created a distinct vision of the Wild West I haven’t seen before. It’s a quick-paced, kinetic, action-packed thriller. Fast gunplay and some great dialogue to go with it keep this film going at a frantic pace. Gunfights and action scenes are filmed very vividly and in a wonderfully wild style. It’s one of the best Westerns I’ve seen in years. Samuel takes a tried and true genre and makes it all his own.
The strengths of this film are the character development and where they go from the beginning to the end. The things they have to overcome within themselves and the stereotypes they have to dispel of Black people in the Old West. They were just as prevalent in the West as white people were. They just weren’t as well celebrated or stories weren’t told about them as much and white folks. This was a big issue in Hollywood in the past.
I had a good time watching The Harder They Fall. It had a distinct style all thanks to the director Samuel. The cast from bigger named stars like Elba, King, Stanfield, and Lindo to the lesser-known actors like Majors and Beetz we’re all stellar. I look forward to seeing all of these actors and actresses in more upcoming projects. This film was a lot of fun. It will be added to the list of the all-time great Westerns. On Netflix now!
4 1/2 Stars
Dan Skip Allen
Founder/EIC disappointment media