Jonathan Majors stars as Nate Love, an outlaw who reassembles his former gang to seek revenge against the man who killed his parents.
Jeymes Samuel's western is an intriguing tale of revenge made more appealing with a talented ensemble cast and hard-hitting action.
Jonathan Majors' take on a protagonist bent on executing the man who murdered his parents is pretty convincing but it's the charismatic Idris Elba as the villain who makes you want to see how this bloody tale ends.
Majors is Nate Love, a man who watched the notorious Rufus Buck (Elba) kill his parents as a child. For some reason, Rufus decides to spare the kid's life, giving him a scar on the head before leaving.
Years later, Nate has become the leader of his gang. When he hears that Rufus is getting out of prison, he mobilizes his gang for the inevitable confrontation he has waited for all his life.
If there is one thing that makes The Harder They Fall really unique is the way the director uses music to set the tone and mood of almost every scene. It works so well that you get lost in the plot and can't quite distinguish the melody from the mayhem which happens from time to time.
Westerns aren't particularly known to boast spectacular cinematography so this one doesn't really shine in that category. But the action scenes which are well-choreographed and bloody make for a visual spectacle because of the way they are shot.
Talking about the action, there isn't as much as one would expect given what is glimpsed in the trailer. After the first few scenes, the middle is more or less filled with dialogue and this is where there is a little lagging in terms of pacing. But when the final confrontation does begin, it's truly something to behold.
The acting here is top-notch (that is to be expected given that the casting director managed to get some of the best black actors in Hollywood). Jonathan Majors as the lead is compelling to watch but I was a bit disappointed that his journey to becoming the outlaw he is wasn't shown. Also, it felt like there were some unexplored layers to the character.
The supporting cast members gave phenomenal performances but three names come to mind as the ones who make this movie simply worth it. They are Idris Elba, Regina King, and Lakeith Stanfield.
Zazie Beetz as the love interest of the hero isn't portrayed as your typical damsel in distress (that is until she becomes a damsel in distress). She is a fighter whose showdown with Regina King's Trudy Smith proves to be the best part of the third act.
Idris Elba as Rufus Buck is simply amazing (I'm yet to see a role the actor messed up). He inspires fear in both his allies and enemies, plus he is a man of few words who lets his actions speak for him. The distaste I felt for the character disappeared when he and the hero finally had their moment in the third act.
The dialogue is well-written and apart from some questionable choices made by a few characters, The Harder They Fall proves to be worth it.
Jeymes Samuel delivers with The Harder They Fall and I hope to see more action drama flicks from him in the near future.