Netflix’s Western The Harder They Fall begins with an ingenious disclaimer. These. These. “It Existed.”
The film might not be complete without it. It could lead viewers to believe the story is a fictional tale.
Except for this particular case, it is the reverse. Most cowboys were African-American, but historically, Westerns have featured white actors in leading roles, while black actors are often in supporting roles.
Jeymes Samuel (Director), fell in love Westerns growing up as a child in west London. His film is an attempt to change viewers’ views without making it seem like his movie doesn’t fit within the context.
He told BBC News that he hates the term black cinema and black film. Because you can have Steven Spielberg’s film starring Audrey Hepburn & Richard Dreyfuss. [1989’s Always]It’s not white. If there isn’t a black cinema, then there won’t be any white cinema. Cinema is cinema.
You have to do something.
So it isn’t a black movie, but everyone should enjoy the movie. However, there are a lot of black actors telling their stories.
The genre has been diversified before. Peter Debruge, Variety, noted that “Oscar Micheaux made black Westerns 100 years ago and the big screen witnessed notable examples through Sidney Poitier and Harry Belafonte’s Buck and the Preacher and Mario Van Peebles’ Posse.
“But, there is still the impression that the West colonized by white cowboys fighting black-hat criminals (also white) while ridding it of Indians.”
Samuel’s parents were avid movie-watchers and Samuel was no exception. Samuel says that he was attracted by the movies because “it seemed so real”
It seemed as if they had been there without special effects. Horses, people. Although it was many centuries ago, it felt as though we somehow had cameras that allowed us to see the scene. Westerns were the easiest thing to accept for me… “I felt extremely connected to them.”
Two rival gangs are portrayed in The Harder They Falls. Nat Love (Jonathan Majors), and Rufus Buck, (Idris Elba) lead them. In the film’s opening, Love is shown as a child and his parents are brutally murdered by Buck at dinner.
Love later on in her life is determined to take revenge and hears from Buck that his crew are breaking him free of prison. She sets out after him to pursue him. It is two hours worth of extremely violent and entertaining film. The gangs can fight.
Regina King, Oscar-winning actress, plays Buck’s partner and crime Treacherous Trudy. She was not able to find any information regarding the actual-life character so she took artistic liberties.
“When I was doing my Google dive about Gertrude Smith I tried spelling it many times, but there’s not really any that works. It was more freeing to not be bound to any particular look or thought of someone, she said.
Jeymes never intended to give everyone exact information he may have found in books or researches. But when you look at Jeymes and the entire film, you realize that it is not his original idea. It’s more like an extrapolation from people who are real. I find it to be more stylised and fun.
Samuel was able to draw a line about how much history to keep and how much fiction to make. There is no line!” He responds. “I follow my crazy, and I have fun. I retained the goodies goodies and the baddies the evil ones. Other than that, I used my creative freedom and did what I was told to do as a kid by my mother. “Go, raise hell!”
Netflix hasn’t won the Oscars for best picture, but it will. The film’s new Western take has received positive reviews from critics.
Valerie Complex, Deadline’s Valerie Complex said that “nothing should ever be the same forever” and suggested that this genre of film is primed for deconstruction and reinvention. Old stories need to cover new ground and have fresh representation.
“We have the ability to be heroes and villains and all in between…” This film is brutal, unapologetic and contains moments of humor that balance out its brutality. It is not perfect. But it may be a major revival of an old genre.
Empire’s Whelan Barkzey said that Samuel “presents a dynamic rendition of the Western suitable for modern-day consumption.” Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian said, “If it is more style than substance then it really does have tremendous style.”
It is clear that the film avoids any use racial slurs. Samuel says, “We are not the n-words.” People think that black actors in period pieces must be called the “n-word” a hundred of times. This is a false assumption.
“That was never the case with me, even during slavery, the n’word wasn’t used.” [as a]Blanket [term]This is the definition of a. “I wanted to avoid that term and instead show them in their full glory.”
King said: “It is interesting that, while Jeymes wanted it, it fell on you. The word was missing. There are films, however that seem to sometimes go to great lengths to ensure the word is used. That’s the choice of the creator.
For a second, she stops. She pauses for a moment. [Quentin] Tarantino films!” She giggles. She smiles. However, it is a choice and every person can choose to express their artistic expressions in the best way for them. It doesn’t matter if you like it.
Recent years have seen a rise in the number of casts who are both less white and more male within film and TV. Consider the Ghostbusters reboot featuring all female casts, Jodie Turner Smith’s portrayal in Anne Boleyn role, or Bridgerton’s diversity in race.
Many journalists struggle with how important these factors should be to their reporting. One hand, it is natural to want to promote something new and innovative. You can also draw attention to the issue and signal your support for it.
However, it is possible to reinforce division by talking too often about the topic. This implies that these films and TV programs are not the norm and should be avoided.
“I understand what you mean,” [the more you do that]More [of a]It becomes novelty, which you would like to make commonplace,” Samuel states. It’s rare, but it isn’t commonplace.
According to him, the only way for the industry to change is by bringing attention and new ideas. He says, “My entire reason I did The Harder They Fall was so that they could make movies and create characters in Westerns and not have any reason why they should be there, if they are black, Asian or Latino.”
You can rectify the images we have of Native Americans living in the West, riding in wagons with white women and their children. We just needed to expand the scope of this mythic Hollywood viewfinder.
The Harder they Fall is now available in cinemas. It will also be released on Netflix from 2 November.
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