Around The World In 100 Films – Jamaica

List Item: Watch films from 100 different nations
Progress: 49/100

List Item: Watch all of the “1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die”
Progress: 803/1007Title: The Harder They Come
Director: Perry Henzell
Year: 1972
Country: Jamaica

A benefit of being in the final 20% of the film list, other than the obvious, is being able to notice when there are new countries as the noise of other films clears. A big thanks to my husband today who spotted his new country and suggested that we watched it today. I hadn’t quite banked on seeing a Jamaican film as part of this 100, but it’s really cool to be able to add a second Caribbean nation to what is a slowly increasing list of nations. Hopefully more countries from this region will be added before I finish this particular challenge.

The Harder They Come is an interesting film on this list given that, on the songs list, I have seen the rise of reggae music outside of Jamaica. The spread of that genre was accelerated thanks to this film, which was a smash in its home country as well as a relatively big success. Reggae music is everywhere in this film, with the titular song being played a few times too often. Seriously though, if you end up having the same songs playing multiple times then you either need more songs or just have less sequences that relies on musical backing.

The film itself was fine. Just fine. If this was made in the U.S. I would say this was another blaxploitation film, but with a reggae music backing rather than funk or soul. However, being not of the U.S., this is a Jamaican crime film that contains some of the familiar tropes. The problem with that being that the central character of Cliff becomes such an overblown and psychotic stereotype by the end that I just stopped caring.

In the end, this worked best when it was a vehicle for reggae music and kinda became a semi-musical. Then it becomes some sort of crime spree film where any social commentary it was building up in the beginning is completely left by the wayside for shoot outs. There is a grain of a really good film, but it just ends up not delivering in what was an intriguining initial promise.

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