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Published: 27 May 2022

By Andy Ross

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The Harder They Fall

The Wild West has long been a staple of Hollywood films but those films do not tell the whole story of this historical period in the USA. 

The Harder They Fall is a film about two rival gangs of outlaws and their tit-for-tat revenge. So far, so Western. The difference is that, in this movie, all the actors are black, a reflection of a reality of the Wild West.

What made this film stand out is the style with which it tells its story through script, costume, sets and music.The costumes are sumptuous yet understated. Beautifully made and detailed with brilliant colour, the most striking gradually reveal themselves through the film in short vignettes but closer inspection of the crowd scenes shows that all the cast is dressed with exquisite care. 

The music too is fantastic. A mix of reggae, R&B, choral pieces and hip hop helps carry the story along. Written and produced by the film's director, Jeymes Samuel, the soundtrack has received well-deserved praise and reviews from critics.  

Although the Harder They Fall is violent and somewhat bloody (so not for the faint-hearted), it has a feel-good vibe along the lines of Jackie Brown.  While it may not be to everybody's taste, it is, for me, a stylish and thoughtful piece of film-making that revels in its telling and through that telling reveals an often-hidden aspect of life in the Wild West. Bravo!