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THE HARDER THEY FALL
Starring: Jonathan Majors, Idris Elba, Zazie Beetz, Regina King, LaKeith Stanfield, Delroy Lindo, Edi Gathegi, RJ Cyler, Danielle Deadwyler, and Deon Cole
Director: Jeymes Samuel
The Harder They Fall is my kind of western, featuring the coolest characters played by the coolest performers saying the coolest things over the coolest score. First-time director Jeymes Samuel makes sure to capture everything as epically as possible and does not waste a shot. Although every person on screen shines bright, it's Jonathan Majors who continues to prove how, even amongst legends like Regina King, Delroy Lindo, and Idris Elba, he will be top billed for decades to come. I promise this will be, hands-down, one of the most bad-ass movies you've watched in years.
I recently asked a friend that I just made up for this review, "What was the last great western?" In The Harder They Fall, Netflix has delivered the answer. The performances are stellar across the board, though Jonathan Majors and LaKeith Stanfield are especially great, and the confident direction of Jeymes Samuel (in his feature debut, no less) is astounding. He's clearly influenced by Quentin Tarantino, but it feels much fresher, dripping with the "Black swagger" that Tarantino is constantly trying to capture. It admittedly drags slightly in the middle, but Samuel has crafted one of the year's best movies.
The first third of director Jeymes Samuel’s The Harder They Fall takes a while to find its balance. Ironically, the more stylized portions - the "Netflix movie" segments - are its less successful elements. However, once the story is established and the castmates are all together, it morphs into something that works, relying (to a fault) on good performances and entertaining, well-staged action sequences. Idris Elba and Jonathan Majors are dynamite, especially when sharing the screen, as are LaKeith Stanfield and Delroy Lindo. It all amounts to a pretty fun western, even if the sequel-bait ending did leave me a little annoyed.
Do you want to have a good time watching a movie? If so, I can't recommend The Harder They Fall enough, an entertaining-as all-hell spaghetti western from first time feature director Jeymes Samuel. It doesn't veer too far from the tropes of the genre, but it has the style and dialogue of something much fresher. The large ensemble does not disappoint, with such amazing performances that it's hard to pick a true standout. It may not rank among 2021's best, but it's definitely some of the most fun I've had with a movie this year.
Director Jeymes Samuel kills it in his directorial debut with this film that has shades of Quentin Tarantino, but also stands out as its own thing. It’s violent, vibrant, and vindictive. It also boasts a stacked cast. Jonathan Majors gives a career best performance, solidifying his promise as a leading man, while LaKeith Stanfield oozes cool as the villainous Cherokee Bill. Not to mention Zazie Beetz, Regina King, and many more all adding to this beautiful chaos. The Harder They Fall is dripping with swagger at every point. Don’t let this one get by you.
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