The Harder They Fall (Action, Western) (2021)
Director: Jeymes Samuel
Writer: Jeymes Samuel, Boaz Yakin
Stars: Jonathan Majors, Idris Elba, Regina King, Zazie Beetz
Afflicted with childhood trauma, Nat Love tries to justify his outlaw ways by eliminating those responsible for the torment in his younger years.
Created by Jeymes Samuel, a relative newcomer, "The Harder They Fall" had a successful world premiere at the BFI London Film Festival in October 2021. It aims to be a western different from most, showcasing several characters that would traditionally and unrightfully be the side-act.
"The Harder They Fall" tries to approach untold stories in every aspect. While those tales aren't necessarily true to life, merely using real cowboys to capture audience attention, it does create an engaging quality resembling those classic westerns we all know and love. Most strikingly, however, it mimics "The Magnificent Seven", the 2016 remake that is, doing so achieving everything that film tried so hard to be. However, the most significant comparison to be drawn is that of Tarantino films such as "Django Unchained" and "The Hateful Eight"; it poses a brutality in violence and an unrepentant style of dialogue.
With a storyline that has to balance an abundant star-studded cast, it moves faster than the most-skilled gunslinger in the wild west. Also adding an immense amount of depth, warranting several sittings. Despite Majors and Elba logically playing the most prominent parts, each cast member has their own backstory and time to develop. It is genuinely commendable for any director to feature each of a wide range of characters properly, but even more so for someone pretty-much making their feature debut.
Bringing it all together is the distinct, unique yet excellent score, having a modern sound merging all it tries to do, and successfully so. It's really not meant to be all too serious or historically accurate; it still does what is needed, bombastic sound, action, and sprinkling in enough different seasoning for an engaging narrative. Both cinematically and due to this accompanying soundtrack, it just urges you to see such a film in the cinema, something that is still unlikely for most in our current landscape.
Eventually reaching the concluding gunfight in Redwood which felt it was bound to happen from the start, more attention is given to some dramatic flair, giving most characters an end to their arcs and standing out as something special. For most movie buffs, this film should hit right, and the criticisms on release seem only to have meant one thing and were more of a problem with those spouting unconstructive negativity rather than the picture itself.
The harder they fall, the bigger the Impact.