The Harder They Come (1972)

Dir. Percy Hanzell
Starring: Jimmy Cliff, etc.

Once again, another film I never heard of or would have seen if I had not read about it in the 1001 book. The film may warrant a higher score, but I just didn’t care for it. I can’t see many other idiots liking this. I can see some justification for choosing the film, but I just didn’t care for it. In fairness to the film, the subtitles were absolutely terrible. Many sections of dialogue did not have the subtitles for some inexplicable reason. That made it really difficult to understand certain sections of the film.

The film is cross between the rags-to-riches musician and Bonnie and Clyde (sans Bonnie). The music, in this case is reggae. The story follows a young Jamaican, Ivan (Jimmy Cliff) from coming from the countryside to the city to make it big as a musician. The story shows Ivan struggle to survive. Ivan gets a chance to record and makes a good record, but like other new artists, the record producer takes advantage of him. Ivan eventually gets involved with the drug (pot) trade, and–Here the film takes a wild turn–becomes this rebel with a gun: he rebels against being ripped off by those higher in the drug-trade. He becomes a man on the run with a gun: killing police paid off by the drug organization. The action sequences aren’t memorable. I suspect the heroes rebellion against the oppression and corruption from the business world, government and authority in general is what resonates with some. The film is filled with a lot of good music from Cliff and other reggae musicians. I will say that the combination of anti-hero criminal and reggae musician roled into one makes the film unique. Still, I had a hard time sitting through it.

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