Oct 21, 2021
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The Harder They Fall review: Netflix’s slick Black Western is defiant, not deep

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“While the events of this story are fictional… These. People. Existed.”

Jeymes Samuel’s Black-centric star-studded Western The Harder They Fall opens on that defiant, creatively flexible note. Every major character in Samuel’s bloated style-over-story directorial debut borrows their name from a historic African-American cowboy or outlaw. By putting them in a bloody, slick spaghetti Western, Samuel can take the liberty to remake their legends in his image, for a diverse contemporary epic.

It’s easy to wholly praise The Harder They Fall on the grounds of representation, but the actual merits of that benchmark aren’t obvious, given the historical competition. Black Westerns began with Richard C. Kahn’s 1930s films, then…

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