Big screen, little screen review: Completing the illusion

The Harder They Fall movie poster
The Harder They Fall movie poster (Photo credit: Instagram (@Netflix))

This week we begin our read with a continued look at Hollywood’s influence on the silver screen and our movie review looks at the Netflix production The Harder they Fall. So, without further delay. Did you know there are three different movies associated with a new production – one written, one that is shot, and one that is edited? After the principal photography is over and all the material from second units, computer graphics houses animation stock files and other sources are sent in that third movie must be configured from the jigsaw puzzle of possibilities even a single moment in the final movie may contain elements created at several different places and times by several different crews. All were created under different lighting conditions and sounds recorded at postproduction sessions.

Even before the principal ends the film, the editor has begun assembling the footage into a rough first cut. The computer graphics, animation inserts, and other missing scenes are marked. The first job of the editor is to make sure that the director has enough usable shots for each scene. The more gruelling job of the editor is to reduce the plethora of daily footage to manageable proportions. the footage is then transferred to a specialized computer on which the editor can rearrange the different shots. Every scene is time-coded and the directors closely supervise the process. This is the point at which they are finally free of the demands imposed by actors, directors of the photograph, line producers, unit managers and even the script. Working with editors, directors can view all the likely permutations until they find the order that that most satisfactorily tells the tale the way they want to tell it. To achieve that combination can take weeks. Editors cut the film accordingly producing what is called the director’s cut. When all the material is combined in the film the lighting still needs to be corrected, especially if, as is usually the case with films shot under different conditions it is critically important to restore the illusion of continuity by adjusting the brightness contrast, and colour for each scene. Colour balancing as this is called is also extremely time-consuming it requires sitting both the DP and director down with the timing technician for 16 and 24 hours sessions of intense work. 

The Harder they Fall

Two and a half hours Jamaica, no not the actors, the soundtrack – solid reggae, one gets the feel of being at a roots-rock concert featuring notable reggae acts of the eighty’s dancehall resonance. A Netflix production, it is action-packed. If one loves the quick draw shoot before being shot, place in a cowboy western giving a kind of Robin Hood, gangster of the west all Black characters, including females who are as hard as nails, this movie is for you.      

 If one is not pressed for time, The Harder They Fall fits in well with several brilliant actors and several thrilling action and music, you’d be pressed to give your undivided attention. The tribute I pay to The Harder They Fall draws from a multi-storyline approach, the cast, the soundtrack, the camera work, and the sets. There are moments of pleasure during The Harder They Fall, and the touches are engaging enough for the most part. There is a degree of humour, enough to make one laugh. I was tickled pink by ‘white town’ where the people are white, the buildings are painted white and even the dust is white.

Parents need to know that The Harder They Fall is graphically violent western. Traditional Hollywood westerns tend to pass over the women and people of colour who settled and thrived in the early composition of the American West. The Harder They Fall utilize Black figures for the story and attempt to give an alternative view on a genre that usually and consistently represents a white perspective. Adult content consists of tremendous gun violence, blood, and dead bodies. Although characters display toughness in the face of danger, the movie’s subject matter is about aggression and vengeance. Nat Love (Jonathan Majors), Mary Fields (Zazie Beetz), Rufus Buck, Cherokee Bill (LaKeith Stanfield), Bill Pickett (Edi Gathegi), Jim Beckworth (RJ Cyler) and Bass Reeves are based on real people.

In theatres: October 22, 2021; On DVD or streaming: November 3, 2021; Cast: Jonathan Majors, Idris Elba, Zazie Beetz Dianne King; Director: Jeymes Samuel; Studio: Netflix 

Movies now showing in the Jamaican Theatres   

Monster Family2-Three pet bats and the Monster Family rustle across the globe for a second time to save their associates, and make new connections. The Monster family ultimately comes to the understanding that ‘Nobody’s faultless’-Animation
Family Comedy.

No Time to Die–Another Ian Fleming, James Bond Film. The last Hurrah for Craig, another Breathtaking look at Jamaica the territory of great people and fantastic terrain. A Tropical Paradise on show. 

Ron’s Gone Wrong– This is another animation flick about a ‘schooler’ dealing with social media challenges looking at and learning about companionship.

David R. Muhammad is a former morning host on Visions Television and a former member of the Palace Amusement Media Movie Review Committee. He is currently the Student Protocol Officer of the Nation of Islam’ study group – Jamaica.

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