Aside from Jane Campions The Power of the Dog, you won’t find a better Western than Jeymes Samuels The Harder They Fall this year.
Its definitely the best revisionist western of the year and in quite some time.
It looks great, thanks in part to cinematographer Mihai Malaimare Jr’s work on the film and it would appear they had an all already crafty crew that all brought the world to cinematic life.
It has all of the staples that flesh out any good western….the train robbery, the bank robbery, the army, dusty western locales, even a snow white town(!), and shoot-outs, shoot-outs and more shoot-outs that lead to something bigger.
It sounds great, with the music done by the director/musician himself, Jeymes Samuel, but plenty of other tracks by some of hip-hops biggest names. It really gives this western an existence all on its own.
It all black cast is phenomenal, lead by some of the industry’s biggest names right now….Idris Elba, Regina King, LaKeith Stanfield, Zazie Beetz but Jonathan Majors, a man I already knew was a star after seeing The Last Black Man in San Francisco, completely owns his leading role here.
The opening 5 minutes just throws you into this world almost reminding you that the harder you fall….into a movie, the better it often is. A young Nat Loves parents are brutally murdered by a gang and its faceless leader and from there the movie never lets up.
Flash forward about 20 years later, that kid, now scarred man, is now out for revenge. There is a lot going on in this western world….always places to be, people to see….and sometimes it feels like too much with too many figures to focus on with a few too many plotlines that aren’t as fleshed out as the main plot of the movie.
But once the movie finally makes it back to where it all began in that opening 5 minutes, the movie truly solidifies itself as a western epic with a cathartic family reunion in the final 20 minutes of the movie. The story is one that transcends its time period.
It’s just a shame this movie didn’t have a wide spread theatrical release because it fits perfectly on any big screen