Featuring a stellar cast including Idris Elba (Luther), Jonathan Majors (Da 5 Bloods) and Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk), western The Harder They Fall has arrived on Netflix. It tells the story of Nat Love, an outlaw who discovers his enemy Rufus Buck is being released from prison. With his gang, Nat must track down Rufus to seek revenge for the murder of his parents when he was a boy. Full to the brim with witty humour, fast-paced shoot-outs and some of the best acting of the year, The Harder They Fall is an unmissable gem.
Written by Becca Johnson
Jonathan Majors once again proves he is one of the best actors working today. Nat Love is a revenge fuelled individual who will stop at nothing to avenge his parents, yet he learns a lot about himself and his family along his journey allowing his character to grow; Majors captures this perfectly. Idris Elba is equal parts menacing and mesmerising as villain Rufus Buck, and it's fun to see him leading a fearsome crew including the likes of LaKeith Stanfield (Judas and the Black Messiah) and Regina King. Unfortunately, having a cast this large means that many characters lack proper development, and talented actors end up underutilised with less screen time than desired. Although it's great to see all of these incredible individuals come together and some of the best acting of 2021 is put forward, few of them are able to give career best performances due to lack of screen time.
The Harder They Fall is director Jeymes Samuel's first feature length movie, and his efforts are admirable. With gorgeous set design, stunning costuming and unique cinematography and editing, the movie is completely immersive from start to finish. It manages to be both retro and modern all at once, proving that westerns can in fact be cool and hip. Though tackling serious themes, the script is particularly well written with a perfect balance of humour and heart, with some witty laughs and endearing moments filtered throughout. The editing at hand is fun and quirky, paired with cinematography that utilises the set design and setting to the best of its ability, whilst also focusing on the characters during every shot.
The hip-hop heavy soundtrack may be a little too prominent for some, yet for others it'll be a fun blast that adds another layer to the movie. Being one of the notable features of the movie, the likes of Kid Cudi, JAY-Z, CeeLo Green and Ms. Lauryn Hill have come together to create music full of head-nodding beats, catchy choruses and incredible songs that match the scenes. Paired perfectly, the music elevates these scenes to bigger heights. Music plays a key role during The Harder They Fall, and every track is sublime to listen to.
A western is not complete without tense and action packed shoot-outs, which The Harder They Fall luckily has its fair share of. It doesn't hold back with the shoot 'em up approach, with violence and bloodshed aplenty. Some exposition scenes slow the pace down a little meaning the somewhat lengthy 130 minute run-time can occasionally feel bogged down, yet the amount of action and exposition seem balanced enough for enjoyment to be had. The movie leads its audience to an exciting and worthwhile climax, with many unpredictable twists and turns during the final act.
The Harder They Fall is easily one of Netflix's most successful original movies. The cast do their very best to bring the most out of the script, there is action aplenty and the soundtrack is one of the most memorable of the year. Likely one of the coolest and most hip westerns ever put to screen, The Harder They Fall is bound to capture new fans of the genre with its slick script and immersive set design. It's unfortunate to see a few pacing issues as well as many underutilised talents, but regardless of its, its an excellent gem that needs to be watched by all.