“The Harder They Fall” Movie Review

Story posted November 9, 2021 in

Western fans are about to fall head over heels for “The Harder They Fall.”

“The Harder They Fall” is the Netflix’s new, stylish western movie directed by singer/songwriter Jeymes Samuel or otherwise known as The Bullitts.

This is the third movie Bullitts has directed but by far the longest. With his music roots and partnership with Jay-Z as the producer, the soundtrack and music was an important factor to the film.

Bullitts used a lot of modern sounds and vocal performances rather than the traditional country and western scores that fans would expect to hear.

At times the modernity of sounds worked but other times it felt out-place and overused.

But not only did they have a unique audio style, they had an amazing live-action visual style.

The movie’s environment was very bright and vibrant. With glamour shots of the desert to the bright town of Redwood, the set pieces and camera’s shot had some glorious angles to it.

The best shots were the action sequences. The action was the highlights of the movie. With blood splattering reminiscing another big western known as “Django: Unchained”, the gore and gun sequences were amazing.

The title shot is a key moment that shows the visual masterpiece of the film. Each shot of the main character, Nat Love, gives a word of the title up until the guy lands on the ground.

The final battle exemplifies this as well. With a massive action scene throughout the fictional town of Redwood and each main character gets to show off their specific strengths in battle and story pay offs that goes far in a movie.

A unique thing about most of the characters, like Rufus Buck and Cherokee Bill, is they are real people even though the story is fictional and historically inaccurate.

Only two of the protagonists really get a lot of depth.

Danielle Deadwyler’s portrayal of Cuffee shows the depth the actress feels. The audience can feel how she’s secretly the most intimidating shot in the movie.

Also, her acting showed of the most in the scene where they robbed a bank from an all-white town both paint and population wise. The audience truly feels all the pain white people have given Cuffee and it really shows here with Deadwyler’s expert acting.

The main character Nat Love played by Johnathon Majors, had all the charm, revenge-stricken, and depth the character needed in the film. Majors played a great lead cowboy.

Other noticeable protagonists were Zazie Beetz Mary Fields who is the love interest to Nat Love but is underutilized in the film.

Delroy Lindo’s Bass Reeves is a marshal but doesn’t get a lot of character depth. Edi Gathegi as Bill Pickett, the sharpshooter of the bunch, but he isn’t really used other than being a sharpshooter.

Lastly there is Rj Cyler’s Jim Beckworth who is the quick shot of the group and wants to outshoot the villain Cherokee Bill. He has slightly more development than Bill Pickett, but he suffers the same flaws.

Since there is a underusage and development in the protagonists, there was a lot of usage and development of the villains.

First, there is Cherokee Bill, who is apparently the quickest shot in the west. Lakeith Stanfield’s performance of him was done so well. He had the swagger and threatening presence of a cheating “Back shooter.”

Second, is Regina King’s Treacherous Trudy who brings the foil to Zazie Beetz Mary Field. She had the intimidation factor and provided a character with no fear.

Lastly and most important of the villains was Idris Elba’s Rufus Buck. He was the silent mob boss that posed intimidation by just proving how powerful he is.

The audience really feels his intenseness during an uncomfortably gruesome beat down on a sheriff to prove he’s the one in charge. His presence in the film and his characters twist leaves a bright mark in this film.

The characters all help show themes of empowerment throughout and a love of family, which is a good message and meaning for a film.

Plus, the ending of the film has a very surprising twist that pays off the characters and adds a nice little cherry on top.

But, even with the twist, some of the story elements felt rushed or not fully developed and if one looks away for a second, they could become very confused to what’s happening in the film.

Overall, this movie is a modern western that lives up to the genre especially with its visual style and action set pieces that remind audiences of classic spaghetti westerns.

Rating: 3/5 stars

Ethan Hetrick is a first-year communication major. To contact him, email eth5186@psu.edu