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  • Writer's pictureEllis Barthorpe

The Harder They Fall ★★★★★

Jeymes Samuel

Starring Jonathan Majors, Idris Elba, Regina King, Zazie Beetz, Delroy Lindo, LaKeith Stanfield

Not often does a first time director grab you by the balls and make you love them with their debut movie; but Jeymes Samuel knows exactly what he’s doing and conveys a confidence that will be sure to escalate his career as a director. Comparisons have already been made to the legendary Quentin Tarantino, and although they clearly share influences in genre and technique, it’s in their conviction that I’d compare them.

When outlaw Nat Love (Jonathan Majors) discovers his enemy Rufus Buck (Idris Elba) is being released from prison, he reunites his unbelievably cool gang and seeks revenge. Those two leading men are equally mesmerising, encompassing the genre and style with so much ease and a whole lot of swank. Regina King and Zazie Beetz are also exceptional as Treacherous Trudy Smith and Stagecoach Mary Fields. Accompanied by Delroy Lindo, RJ Cyler, Edi Gathegi and an always convincing LaKeith Stanfield, this cast is one of the greatest of the past decade. And not just in stature, but in certitude too.

The visual symbolism used by Samuel throughout adds an extra layer to an already original film; one “white town” in particular makes for a brilliantly satirical gag. Although many directors have delved into the Western genre in the 21st century, none have created the punchiness that The Harder They Fall has from start to finish. Whether it’s through the soundtrack and score (also composed by Samuel) which is constantly timed to perfection, or the variety of shot uses and stellar cinematography, this knows exactly the film it’s trying to be…and it delivers.

It’s perfectly paced with depth in character that can often be forgotten. The performances are flawless and as is that of genius director Jeymes Samuel. This is definitely not the last we’ve seen of him, and I will be front row to see his next.

(If you can see this on the big screen, definitely's huge!)

The Harder They Fall in select cinemas from 22nd October and on Netflix on 3rd November

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