Directed by Jeymes Samuel
I’ve always enjoyed cowboy movies. Watching spaghetti westerns with my father was something we could enjoy together. He’d say, “you see him, he was black” referring to “The Lone Ranger”. The black man’s name was Bass Reeves, pointing to the white actor Clayton Moore and he’d go back to reading his paper because he’d seen it before or didn’t like the show. The westerns that held our attention were the Clint Eastwood westerns. The cold stares, the stand offs and the recognition of repeat characters were fun.
I sat down to watch “The Harder They Fall” and right from the opening scene of Rufus Buck, portrayed by Idris Elba, appearing as a monster set to destroy this innocent family, I was engaged. The look of recognition on the face of Theodore, the man answering the unexpected knock on the door. Rufus, the man looking for entry, saunters in, spits on the floor, showing his disrespect and disdain and then to sit at the table with his hat on! Oh, the hate was thick. Listening to how Michael Beach’s character “pastor Love” was talking to the intruder, it was clear that he had wronged this man. So, just wanting to know what caused him to behave like he did was enough to keep me watching.
Which brings me to Regina King, playing Trudy Smith and her affection for Rufus. She was clearly someone Rufus trusted, and her actions displayed a deep love for Rufus.
This brings me to Jonathan Majors as Nat Love. Is it just me, or does this actor seem to dance? I mean he has rhythmic movements.
The confrontation between Rufus Buck and Nat Love; Rufus asks Nat, “Do you know why I gave you that scar?” Nat answers, “Yeah, so I’d remember you.
Rufus looked disappointed with Nat’s reply and says, “No, I gave you that scar so I’d recognize you when you came for me”.
Rufus was older and had been playing chess, working the world to his movements. I thought that was a brilliant way to deliver a message.
Honorable mention to Delroy Lindo as Bass Reeves and Deon Cole as Wiley Escoe.
Depending on your perspective and expectations, this was worth the watch!