“The Bitter Revenge” (The Harder They Fall), Netflix
evening. Little House On The Prairie. Sometime in the days of the Wild West. Family – mother, father, their little son – gather around the table to eat the mouthful of the evening. The father is dressed in his suit, the mother in a button-down dress, the child – what do I know about the child? – It does not seem as if he has just returned from rolling in the barn with his favorite calf: clean, tidy, launches a hand to the roasted chicken and snatches a blow from mom. We have not yet prayed. Combine palms. The father thanks God for the food. And suddenly, there was a knock on the door. And another knock. More vigorous. Who can it be? Who is the uninvited guest at a time like this?
The father goes to the door, opens it. The entrance is filled with his huge body Idris Alba. That is, the notorious criminal Rufus Buck. The father of the family and the infamous Rufus have some unknown account, and when Rufus pushes him and enters the little house in the prairie, the father begs: Rufus, leave them, your argument is with me. Rufus the hard-hearted kills him indifferently, kills the screaming mother, cuts a bloody cross on his child’s forehead with his knife, and Kat.
Many years pass. The boy – named Nate Love – has already grown to be a young man. He did not forget the day his family was murdered. He gathers a gang around him and goes out to avenge Rufus, who has meanwhile been imprisoned, and is released by his cruel gang as he is transferred from prison to jail, planning to take over no less than an entire town called Redwood.
Not everyone who starts watching “Bitter Revenge” will finish watching it. This week the film was ranked second in the number of views in the country, but even though it is launched as a definite member of the favorite western genre by many, it does not take long and its diversity is revealed. Bitter “is an exaggerated, sometimes amused, tribute to the Wild West films, in which tough men who do not shy away from any danger direct a long, meaningful and silent look at other tough men who do not shy away from any danger who return a long, dangerous and equally silent look. Fine music is heard in the background, sometimes it is rap, sometimes it is a descendant of other modern styles, certainly of types that the endless prairie riders, on their way from mass killing to train / bank robbery and the like did not recognize.
And they are all black. The thieves, the good, the bad, the sheriff. Only one city that the guys come to empty the bank coffers in is white – the houses are painted white, the citizens are white, the bank officials are white. But when the (black) robbers leave the city, everything gets rid of this whitish nuisance and the color black takes over the land again.
The smiling gesture atmosphere to the classic Western does not always work. When gazes are as hard and long as the length of the exile in one scene, one immediately proceeds to hard and long glances as the length of the exile in the next scene, patience is quite stretched. Western action is often sacrificed here in favor of another hint of style, and “bitter revenge” risks here the bitter revenge of impatient viewers who want to see a gun that shoots, not one that speaks, and may flutter to other channels.
By the way, the script for “Bitter Revenge” was written by musician James Samuel and former Israeli director Boaz Yachin. The film was shot during the Corona plague, and filming was interrupted twice due to actors contracting the disease. Yachin studied in his youth at a yeshiva, and then moved to a science school in the Bronx borough. The first film he wrote was “The Punisher”, with Dolph Lundgren. He wrote and directed many other films, including about the Holocaust. One of Yachin’s traits, as he often said in interviews, is that he does not like blood. For a slightly lacking film – it has too little action and blood and too much style and music.
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