The Harder They Come
Review of The Harder They Come
The Harder They Come tells the story of Ivanhoe Martin (played by Jimmy Cliff), a country boy who moves to Kingston to seek fame and fortune. Ivan tries to gain legitimate employment but finds there are very few opportunities open to him. Undeterred, he pursues his dream of becoming a reggae musician. Singing brings him local popularity but he quickly discovers that the music industry is rife with corruption and exploitation.
Ivan becomes aware that a life of crime is a much quicker way for him to attain wealth, fame and admiration when the don of a local drug-running gang takes him under his wing. However, it does not take long for Ivan to find that the drug running gang is every bit as corrupt and exploitative as the music industry. After voicing his concerns he decides to take decisive action against this. This makes him a hero of the people but an enemy of both the gang-land dons and the official establishment.
The Harder They Come was written, produced and directed by Jamaican born Perry Henzell. The story is loosley based on the true story of Rhygin, an outlaw hero amongst Kingston's poorer communities in the 1950s. The Harder They Come shines with authenticity. All actors are Jamaican and lines are delivered in Patios. To aid understanding, "standard" English subtitles are provided (these may be turned off on the DVD version). It can clearly be seen that the film was a low budget production but, rather than diminishing the viewers enjoyment of the film, this is in keeping with its gritty subject matter and actually adds to the film's dark and oppressive mood.
A key feature of this film is the brilliant soundtrack, featuring tracks by Toots and the Maytalls, Desmond Dekker and, of course, Jimmy Cliff. This is also available to buy.
The Harder They Come - Soundtrack
Tracklisting1 You Can Get It If You Really Want (Jimmy Cliff)
2 Many Rivers To Cross (Jimmy Cliff)
3 Harder They Come (Jimmy Cliff)
4 Sitting In Limbo (Jimmy Cliff)
5 Draw Your Brakes (Scotty)
6 Rivers Of Babylon (The Melodians)
7 Sweet And Dandy (The Maytals)
8 Pressure Drop (The Maytals)
9 Johnny Too Bad (The Slickers)
10 Shanty Town (Desmond Dekker)
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