BluRay/DVD Reviews

THE HARDER THEY COME

By • Oct 31st, 2000 •

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Criterion Collection

Here it is…..the film that proves that every stereotype you’ve heard or seen about Jamaicans is true. If it were not for the great soundtrack (I defy you not to sing along), would this film even be remembered?

Director Perry Henzell rode the wave of blaxploitation/neo-realism to the hilt. The story, nothing new, is a parable about a young boy from the country who wants to make it in the music industry and winds up becoming a criminal.

My main complaint is that the film’s soundtrack precedes the actual film itself. If this was not the CITIZEN KANE of Jamaican films, in fact the only Jamaican film I have ever heard of, it would probably not be as popular as it is. Oh, you say, but it’s from the Criterion Collection! It must be good!

Jimmy Cliff does a great job of playing the country boy who becomes an outcast in the big bad city, but I just cannot feel sympathy for someone who shoots cops. This is really pretty much a rehash of the Bonnie and Clyde story, without the Bonnie. Both films are supposed to be about modern day Robin Hoods, but this one does not stand up.

All in all, despite my griping , it’s not a bad movie, it just doesn’t live up to the hype. Unless you’re a big fan of reggae music, pass on this one, and go directly to any neo-realist film. Any, really.

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