I went into this film with absolutely no expectations, knowing next to nothing about it. Man, am I glad I watched it - "Concrete Cowboy" is an inspiring film. While it is about horseback riding, this film is really about personal growth at its core. The central protagonist, Cole, goes through a journey of coming to terms with family, friendship and his own identity. The lifestyle of Philadelphia cowboys and the bonds they share with each other, as well as with their horses, ties everything together nicely. I was intrigued the whole time, especially by the strong performances the whole cast delivered.
At some points the film it is a bit slow but that is part of a modern western so its oké. The film lasted just a bit too long, it could be 10 minutes shorter. Caleb Mclaughlin gives a great performance and he can play drama very well. Idris Elba is not that much in the movie but when he is there he is very good. At a few moments in the film it is very emotional and its inpressive How they handled it. There are a lot of beautiful shots in the movie. Overall its a good movie with tons of great acting but a little to slow and long.I give the movie a 8/10.
"There's a horse in your house."
hidden gem of the first half of 2021. A film about a young man reconnecting with his father in Philadelphia sounds like it can be a cliched drama. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. It tackles a subject not seen much in film, the urban cowboy. On the surface it felt like watching a film about a man learning the cowboy ways but in a ghetto environment.Caleb McLaughlin shows that he's a talented actor. He gives a fantastic performance as Cole. If he wanted to move away from Stranger Things, I think this performance shows that he has the talent to tackle adult roles. I also like his bond with Idris Elba. At first I wasn't sure if his character had much going on under the surface, but he shines in the second half. He seems like the father figure that can be a good father in the toughest circumstance.I do wish that the screenplay could've developed Cole's relationship with Smush alot better. I felt like when we get to those scenes, they felt like typical black drama that I've seen before. When we get to Smush's gang life, I felt like the screenplay didn't have enough to develop. Anyway, it doesn't take away too much since the best parts are when Cole is on this self-discovery journey.If you have Netflix and want to see a cowboy drama from the black perspective, this is worth checking out.
The film was too long, too predictable and the interaction with the horses was poor - when will directors realise that horses do not make so much noise all the time? Really poor scenes with the boy and the 'wild' horse, terrible continuity- lead rein attached then not attached etc. As an equestrian I was uncomfortable with how the horses were kept, which was not good for the story. The two boys were good, the father's character barely drawn and strange and the ending flimsy.Urban cowboys deserved a better film.
A good solid 8 and a film with heart. Can't understand the low ratings, but I figure a lot of people don't like the idea of black cowboys, tough, they exist and always have. I can imagine what type of people are giving this a 1/10. Have you learned nothing in this last year?It's not just a coming of age film, but a cultural lesson, one I had no idea about.Most of the characters are based on real life cowboys in Philadelphia. Fletcher Street was a real stable until it was destroyed by the Philly authorities for 're development'.The acting is solid. Idris Elba (Pops) is very good as the strong silent type, his son, Caleb McLaughlin (Cole), grows up fast because he has too. His first day of honest hard work was pretty funny.This is a well rounded, factual film that shines a light on the injustice in America today and how communities that are trying to do the right thing are screwed over by the system. They ain't rich so they're fair game, same old, same old.
As an African American who grew up in rural adjacent Mississippi (Memphis Metro), went to graduate school in Philly, and currently lives in DC, I appreciated the mash up of so many different worlds in this film, despite the clumsiness of the overall storyline.Also, Philadelphia is such an interesting and diverse city! I enjoyed learning about the Fletcher Street cowboys, but viewers aren't really given a snapshot into much else in the city except for drugs and violence. That's really a shame considering Philly's amazing food scene, mural arts, rich music tradition, etc.
I think that this movie will never be fully appreciated by the casual viewer, because we can't even imagine how these people are living. I really needed to get used to this way of living, just as much as are protagonist. That makes the movie so odd and strange in the beginning, but after we get to see how much these characters care about their horses, I was fully on board. On a technical level, it's fantastic. The score and soundtrack fit really well to the story and the cinematography makes the movie at times look stunning. On an exceptional level however it lacks focus. The concept as a whole is really interesting, but I think the movie focuses too much on the troubling son negative. That storyline has been done so many times now, that it makes it so predictable. The movie is at his best, when the actual cowboys and stables are one screen. They are just so interesting and entertaining. Their way of living and seeing the rest of the world just intrigues me. It's just a waste that it focuses a lot on predictable storylines. But if you can look past the predictability of the movie, there is still a lot to enjoy.
I almost stopped watching the slow beginning. The pacing would have improved with the mother explaining what her son did and his past misbehavior..There is a lack of theme continuity. It is inconsistent the protagonist would allow a dead horse to remain on the property to rot away, if there was a love and respect for horses.
Concrete Cowboy is well-acted and beautifully shot. The plot was predictable, yes. However, the unique setting, gorgeous & gritty cinematography, and heartfelt performances more than make up for the familiar story beats.
I really dont get ratings anymore how this is under a 7 is beyond reality!! Movie is excellent in every way from the great acting to the phenomenal story that's based on a REAL story and situation to the reason we watch movies. The main thing a movie has to do is entertain but it's even better when its entertaining AND a lesson learned. It's such a shame that everytime something is actually doing something good greed or misunderstanding takes it away. Watch this gem and learn!! LOVED it!!
If you enjoy reading my Spoiler-Free reviews, please follow my blog :)I lost count of the number of movies I've watched completely blind to any prior information. Concrete Cowboy is the most recent addition to that list. Ricky Staub and Dan Walser make their debuts as director and screenwriter of a feature film, respectively. From the synopsis alone, I expected some sort of variation of the formulaic coming-of-age story, which in this case takes a rebellious kid back to his father who lives far, far away from the everyday city lifestyle. Not even twenty minutes into the narrative, and it's quite easy to anticipate everything that's going to happen. From character development to specific plot points, it's a generic screenplay that holds no surprises.However, Staub offers a solid directorial debut that elevates the entire movie, demonstrating talent behind the camera. Most importantly, Staub shows a remarkable commitment to a project that never lost the director's clear vision of the story he wanted to tell. This leads me to the only production element that actually made me open my eyes a little bit more upon its revelation. I knew that this film was based on a novel, but I didn't realize that real-life Philadelphia cowboys starred in the movie - information stamped wide and clear in the trailers. The end credits - don't forget to watch these after the film finishes - offer short interviews with the non-actors, which feel heartwarming and genuine.Listening to these people talk about their love for horses and the continuous fight to keep the stables for themselves gives a whole other layer to previous interactions in the movie with the actual actors/characters. Besides, I now understand and forgive the fact that some scenes featuring non-actors feel a bit bland. Idris Elba plays the father role extremely well, but Caleb McLaughlin - 19-years-old already - steals the spotlight with an emotionally powerful performance that demanded more from him physically than expected. His character follows the usual arc of a young teen who needs to learn important life lessons through hard work and tough love. Everyone else offers decent displays, but the cast doesn't overcome the real issues with the film.An uninteresting, cliche drug business subplot drags the entire movie, gradually and negatively affecting the film's already slow pacing. Throughout the runtime, the viewers are constantly moved from the main storyline to this side narrative that doesn't even impact the outcome of the movie, partially removing impact from subsequent plot points. Walser's screenplay follows a generic storytelling method, relying heavily on the cast's ability to give more energy to each scene, which doesn't occur often. Technically, Minka Farthing-Kohl's cinematography adds to the murky aesthetic, but the camera work is a tad too shaky for my taste. Luke Ciarrocchi's editing could be better - many choppy transitions from scene to scene. Sweet score from Kevin Matley.Concrete Cowboy holds a formulaic, unsurprising coming-of-age story that could have been more captivating had it focused on the main narrative. For the millionth time, a cliche subplot involving a drug business negatively impacts the film's purposefully steady pacing, as well as the overall interest in the primary storyline. Nevertheless, Ricky Staub proves to be a committed director with a clear vision, bringing real-life Philadelphia cowboys to the movie, who added much-needed authenticity. Cal