Edwin Buggage Editor-in-Chief
Coming in at number one this week is the must-see movie “Concrete Cowboy” it is presently the most popular movie on Netflix, according to the streaming service’s public ranking system.
In the film, Idris Elba, and Caleb McLaughlin of “Stranger Things” fame star as a father and son in this coming-of-age film of a young man who is sent to live with his father who is part of a horse-riding community inside of North Philadelphia.
It is a film that draws at the heartstrings as Fifteen-year-old Cole (McLaughlin) is a troubled kid who is sent from Detroit for the summer in Philadelphia to live with his estranged father Harp (Elba), a tough, old-West style cowboy who lives and rides at a century-old African American horsemanship institution called the Fletcher Street Urban Riding Club.
Cole is like many angry young Black men who do not have a father. But as he gets to know his father and those in the horse-riding community, they teach him the value of hard work and discipline.
Against this backdrop Cole also finds himself attracted to the lure of fast money when he reconnects with Smush (Jharrel Jerome), who plays a low-level drug dealer who points the way to any easier method of making money.
The film is loosely based on the book “Ghetto Cowboy” by Greg Neri, “Concrete Cowboy” is a different type of western from previous films featuring Blacks in this genre.
The characters are well-rounded and relatable. This is a film that is thought provoking, inspirational as well as entertaining.
While Elba is the draw for many, it is McLaughlin, whose depiction of Cole shows the incredible range of this young star on the rise. He shows the multiple layers of so many young Black men in how he brings together the vulnerability and innocence and rebelliousness of young men trying to navigate the bridge from boyhood to manhood.
Also of note is a great supporting cast, with Cliff “Method Man” Smith as a local, sympathetic cop and Lorraine Toussaint and real-life Fletcher Street Riders like Jamil Prattis, who portrays a wheelchair bound Fletcher Street stables fixture who brings a touch of authenticity to the film.
In the end “Concrete Cowboy” is more than a film about a father and son, but a film about values and the love in a community with multi-layered characters that is not often shown in films featuring an African American cast.
This film I highly recommend for all, but especially for Black men and teenage boys to watch. for it shows the importance of the need for Black fathers in our community to be involved in the lives of their children.