Open the book of Clarence and initiate the countdown. Allow us the latitude of completion with The Harder they fall this week.
Director: Jeymes Samuel
Writers: Jeymes Samuel, Boaz Yakin
Released: November 2021
Breakdown and Analysis
- We have a broader dialogue on the accessibility of cinema. Jay Z convinced Jeymes to go with Netflix on the basis that classics like Godfather continue to be consumed in households to this day. And for those that don’t have immediate access to box office, they do have Netflix.
- Oti grew up watching westerns and was particularly impressed with the execution of Jeymes’ vision. KT loved the sense of ownership Oti had watching the film. Oti shares how he can enjoy the Western genre but there is a sense of not feeling a deeper resonance and this was perfectly addressed in The Harder They Fall. He reflects on how Lion King, a childhood animated film about the animal kingdom, was all he had to latch onto. Not knowing you are starved until you are given a film like The Harder They Fall.
- Following on from our Candyman episode, KT queries to Oti how his Christmas ratings being high for both may possibly dilute the quality of the better one.
- We address the issue of Colourism brought up about the casting of Zazie as Stagecoach Mary. Oti takes it with a grain of salt while KT does not think it is fair for Jeymes to shoulder all the issues with Hollywood. Jeymes also addressed this by saying this film is based on real life people but is not a biopic.
- One of the things that really played it’s part for Oti was the soundtrack. He observes how reggae is separate from most instances in films. KT agrees and notes that the few moments of silence are decidedly so and to great effect. Oti talks about how every scene had a song and it was effectively intentional.
- KT brings up the brilliant use of dichotomy in the film. It was a story about black characters but there were layers. Some were good. Some were bad. And there was a focus on self interest and how that shapes the story.
- We talk about the connotation of the phrase ‘Black movie’. KT doesn’t apply that when she says it but Oti is hesitant as it may be received differently despite the rounded intention.
- We see in Nat Love, a character that is flawed in many ways. However we get to see him learn and grow and come into his own. KT loves that the premise was set up very early in the film. We were getting a revenge plot and it was going to be a tasty showdown. He was loyal to his crew and they all had a loving reciprocity, not just banded together for individual gain.
- Rufus Buck had a vision for Redwood, like Black Wall Street that Trudy was drawn in by. We weren’t aware of his motivations but bought that he was an evil guy. KT had qualm with his character as it doesn’t overlap with her love for the underdog. As the scenes went on, it was clear that he was not like a Spartan King that would be in the midst of battle with his crew. Rufus always had his henchmen and felt somewhat removed from the inhumane orders he would command. Oti acknowledges he did not demonstrate his physical strength but argues that there isn’t need for an effective leader.
- There was the unanswered reason why Rufus would let Nat live, despite on every occasion the crew proving they were ruthless and killed everyone. The film gave us so much to chew on that it didn’t bother us. KT did not care for the closing of the loop being that Rufus and Nat share a bloodline through their father. The film did everything, she didn’t need further reasons to cheer/scorn characters. It made the journey of Nat full circle for Oti. We agree that Rufus has the saddest storyline in the film and coincidently pain was channeled through him. He became a martyr, like the OG Candyman.
- If you have what it takes for filmmaking and screenwriting, it can be quite simple without the theatrics. KT compares great singers simply being on stage compared to singers that aren’t as good but all round performers.
- Oti mentions how the N word was not being used at all and no nudity but the film delivers on all levels.
- More than one character would ask Trudy about Rufus and she seemed to have a complex about it. We love Trudy and she was strong and independent but she still was reporting to someone. The apple peeling scene gives us insight into why she became the character we are introduced to.
- Mary thought she was smarter than everyone else which was confusing as it was known knowledge that she was in cahoots with Nat.
- Cherokee Bill was an unsavoury character and Bill Pickett deserved better.
Unrelated but vital points
- Our second Idris ‘Cowboy’ Elba film in the same year.
- Oti had so much fun he still has not re-entered his physical form.
- KT will continue to mention the romcom with Sanaa Lathan & Simon Baker until it is covered on the podcast.
- KT shares her unofficial imdb trivia of a nod to Godfather through foreshadowing oranges.
- We are nothing, if not an Edi Gathegi stan podcast. There’s acting and then there’s Thespian God Tier level acting and that’s Edi Gathegi. Don’t forget about Edi Gathegi Dre.
- One day we need to have a conversation about loved ones that caused you pain, have found religion, gotten clean etc and have to dissolve your hurt.
- Classic horror movie trope: if you don’t see them die on screen, there is a possibility we will see them again
- We played a fun game of KT asking Oti whether Regina King was channeling Huey or Riley during the film.