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If The Harder They Fall reminds you of Quentin Tarantino you’re not alone

Bruno Cooke November 4, 2021
the harder they fall quentin tarantino

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The Harder They Fall, directed by British filmmaker Jeymes Samuel (aka The Bullitts), premiered at the BFI London Film Festival on October 6, and landed on Netflix yesterday, drawing comparisons to the work of numerous directors, but most frequently Quentin Tarantino.

What is it about The Harder They Fall that makes people think of Quentin Tarantino?

Certain comparisons are obvious. The Harder They Fall features, for example, old-timey cowboys (think of Django Unchained), and is decidedly Western (like The Hateful Eight).

It’s got gangs, too, and robberies (Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction); corrupt soldiers, hostage-taking, dynamite, hand-to-hand fighting; revenge plots (Kill Bill: Vol. 1, Kill Bill: Vol. 2 and a much rumoured Kill Bill 3), more dynamite, and characters with names like Cherokee Bill and Cuffee

So there’s that.

The Harder They Fall | Official Trailer | Netflix

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The Harder They Fall | Official Trailer | Netflix
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There are more specific things too

But more specifically, for example, director Jeymes Samuel’s use of freeze-frames when punctuating scenes of violence recalls, per Polygon, the “similarly nervy work” of Quentin Tarantino.

In its review, The Economist even described The Harder They Fall as a “rip-roaring homage [to] Mr Tarantino’s postmodern action movies”. 

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Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images

It highlights the film’s “smart-aleck captions”, “grandiloquent monologues”, “the blood-spurting violence, the cool, swaggering performances and an album’s worth of well-chosen pop music”.

And it’s not just reviewers that are drawing comparisons to Tarantino

Numerous Twitter users have highlighted the apparent similarities – or intertextualities – connecting The Harder They Fall to Tarantino’s oeuvre.

One even seemed surprised to find out that it wasn’t directed by Tarantino.

But not everyone is as impressed by it as they are by Tarantino’s films. Per one user’s appraisal, if it had been directed by Tarantino, “the dialogues would have been madder”.

  • RELATED: Who plays Cuffee in Netflix’s The Harder They Fall?
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Bruno is a novelist, amateur screenwriter and journalist with interests in digital media, storytelling, film and politics. He’s lived in France, China, Sri Lanka and the Philippines, but returned to the UK for a degree (and because of the pandemic) in 2020. His articles have appeared in Groundviews, Forge Press and The Friday Poem, and most are readable on Medium or onurbicycle.com.