The Harder They Fall

Unbelievably fun, unbelievably cool, The Harder They Fall features a stellar cast of Idris Elba, Lakeith Stanfield, and Regina King, all of whom bring the absolute storm in this movie.

Idris Elba is the quintessential Man In Black, the ominous taciturn baddie, whose cruelty kicks off the whole story. He plays a complete bastard, Rufus Buck, who thinks his ends justify his means, and he’s never been sexier. Bristling with malevolence and smouldering sexuality, he looms large throughout this film, even when not physically present, his shadow cast long.

Jonathan Majors is his opposite, the hero of the film, if somewhat of an anti-hero, in true Western style. A robber of outlaws, he plays Nat Love. Subject to Buck’s savagery as a child, Love holds a lifelong need for vengeance. In some way Majors has the harder part, because he has to be likeable, while still being thrilling. His character is an upbeat, scrappy survivor, but his need for revenge runs like scar down his heart. His performance is excellent, charming without being saccharin, adventurous without being callous, vengeful without being bitter.

He has a rag-tag motley crew helping him in his endeavour, of special mention goes out to Cuffee, beautifully played by Danielle Deadwyler. Despite the majority of the characters being based on real-life cowboys, Cuffee appears to be an amalgam of queer life on the frontier. Cuffee dresses, presents and takes a new name as they want. They are not misgendered for the majority of the film and accepted without comment. This is only broken in one scene which requires a disguise, where it is revealed that Cuffee was assigned female at birth, but rather than a ‘Aha gotcha!’ moment, it feels like this is put in more just to highlight Cuffee’s queerness, to state definitively that being born within this framework, Cuffee has found freedom in the West.

Stylistically blending spaghetti westerns, (I don’t wanna say Tarantino-esque coz that gives him too much credit, but) exploitation aesthetic, and gangsta flicks, with an absolute banging soundtrack. The Harder They Fall is just non-stop fun, and a pure fuck-yeah! of a film.