|Running time:||137 minutes|
|Release date:||22 october 2021|
Second film co-written and directed by Jeymes Samuel after They Die by dawn (2013), The harder They fall finds all the visual power and atmosphere of the great westerns whether directed by Sergio Leone or Clint Eastwood. While the Western has fallen into disuse, it is good to find a film that not only pays tribute to the great films that have marked our memories but also manages to dust off this genre by offering a film with a majority African-American cast. One suspects that Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained (2011) was one of the strong influences behind Jeymes Samuel and Boaz Yakin's script.
After an excellent introductory scene highlighting the dramatic childhood of outlaw Nat Love (Jonathan Meyers) and his witnessing the murder of his parents before his eyes, we find him years later. When the outlaw Nat Love discovers that his enemy Rufus Buck (Idris Elba) has been released from prison, he gathers his gang to track down Rufus and seek revenge. Among those accompanying him are his former love, Stagecoach Mary (Zazie Beetz), his right and left hand men, the angry Bill Pickett (Edi Gathegi) and the speedy Jim Beckwourth (R.J. Cyler), and a surprising adversary turned ally. Rufus Buck has his own formidable team, including "traitor" Trudy Smith (Regina King) and Cherokee Bill (LaKeith Stanfield).
The harder they fall is a western as violent as it is graphic and is based not only on an excellent script but also on a desire to find all the charm of the great classics. The result is a very inspired production that does not hesitate to make some nods to Clint Eastwood's westerns with its hero who decides to fight against stronger than him and who shows an exemplary courage. Despite its long duration, The Harder They Fall not only succeeds in imposing itself in an undeniable way as a classic of the genre but above all shows that Netflix is well capable of offering us excellent blockbusters that would have had their place on a big screen.
The director Jeymes Samuel is mostly known as a musical artist (singer-songwriter) and this can be felt in the importance that the music takes to reinforce the climate of certain scenes. In the same way the perfect rhythm of the film sounds like a perfectly mastered musical creation. We find in the film different musical movements like blues, funk and other African-American songs. This undeniable contribution gives The Harder They Fall an undeniable added value. Far from wanting to offer a film that is too sober, Jeymes Samuel delivers a film in which the blood literally spurts on the screen for our greatest pleasure.
While some recent films have tried to recapture the charm of the great westerns without succeeding, The Harder they fall respects not only the rules of the genre such as outlaws without a moral code, multiple betrayals, horse races and other bars where people play poker and where cowboys can have a good time. Relying on a solid cast that includes Jonathan Majors, Idris Elba, Zazie Beetz, Regina King, Delroy Lindo, Lakeith Stanfield, RJ Cyler, Danielle Deadwyler, Edi Gathegi, Deon Cole, The Harder They Fall is one of the excellent films to discover this month. The only drawback is that it is a shame not to be able to discover it on the big screen in France as it was the case in the United States.
The Harder They Fall
Directed by Jeymes Samuel
Screenplay by Jeymes Samuel, Boaz Yakin
Story by Jeymes Samuel
Produced by Lawrence Bender, Shawn Carter, James Lassiter, Jeymes Samuel
Starring Jonathan Majors, Idris Elba, Zazie Beetz, Regina King, Delroy Lindo, Lakeith Stanfield, RJ Cyler, Danielle Deadwyler, Edi Gathegi, Deon Cole
Cinematography : Sean Bobbitt, Mihai Mălaimare Jr.
Production company : Overbrook Entertainment
Distributed by Netflix
Release date : October 6, 2021 (LFF), October 22, 2021 (United States), November 3, 2021 (France)
Running time : 137 minutes
Seen on October 30, 2021 (Netflix Press Access)