One of the coolest looking movies this year is The Harder They Fall, a Western starring Idris Elba, Regina King, LaKeith Stanfield, Zazie Beetz, Delroy Lindo, and Jonathan Majors. It’s from director Jeymes Samuel, aka the musician The Bullitts, and it’s due on Netflix on November 3. Man, I hope this one doesn’t get lost in the Netflix shuffle, because it really does look awesome. It’s a Western in which everyone is invested in standing around, looking cool as hell. It reminds me a bit of another Western in which everyone is invested in standing around, looking cool as hell: The Quick and the Dead. It’s a little bit the patently fake Main Street set, and a lot the “everyone is a gunslinger, just gunslinging on everybody” plot. Everyone outlaws, and Jonathan Majors wants revenge on Idris Elba. Sure. I literally don’t care about the plot, just put the visuals in my eyeballs.
Of course, the main difference between The Harder They Fall and The Quick and the Dead is that in Fall, the cast is predominately Black. Keith David is in The Quick and the Dead, but Fall is a more accurate representation of the American West, where as many as a quarter of cowboys were Black. Revisionist Westerns have had a lowkey resurgence in recent years, with films such as The Power of the Dog returning to the West to interrogate archetypes of masculinity and power. We could do with some more films about the Black experience in the West. Fall isn’t aiming for historical accuracy, which is fine, not every period piece has to be a factual retelling of known events. But if this does well, can we all agree to finally back a Bass Reeves movie?