Ben Oliver

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The Harder They Fall

Is it over?
07 November 2021

In the old west, a child watches as his family is murdered by a cowboy (Idris Elba). When he grows up to be a man (Jonathan Majors), he tracks down the murderer to seek revenge.

I have a soft spot for modern-takes on the Western, and on the face of it this is as modern as they come - an all-black cast, shown on Netflix and shot in an array of bold bright colours.

What’s striking however is its adherence to the classic western themes (and perhaps even tropes). This is no bad thing, The Harder They Fall is incredibly entertaining and refreshing, but if you’re looking for the latest in woke re-tellings of history it probably won’t deliver.

More importantly, it does deliver where it counts—there’s action, tension, flair and wit in buckets. It’s a brilliant new take on a tired old genre that knows what to borrow from the old days and what to leave behind.