‘Concrete Cowboy’ Review: Acquiring Horse Sense on the Philly Streets


There is a quote that has been around for years and apocryphally attributed to Ronald Reagan, Winston Churchill, and several other white men: “There is nothing so good for the inside of a man as the outside of a horse.” Become in “Concrete Cowboy.” the improving aspects of riding – and yes, stable maintenance – demonstrated in the story of a troubled black teenager, Cole (Caleb McLaughlin).

One afternoon, Cole’s mother picks him up from school after a fight has him expelled. She is so sick of her son that she drives him all the way from her Detroit home to Philadelphia, where his estranged, silent father Harp (Idris Elba) lives. With a horse.

Harp is part of a group of city riders. There’s not much room in Philly for sprawling stables, so catch as catch can. Even so, Harp and friends keep their operations so copacketical that they are not only tolerated but welcomed by much of their community, despite local police officer Leroy (Method Man) warning that authorities may soon disband their party. Cole is trained like a horse; His workout shows a close-up of a wheelbarrow full of manure.

Directed by Ricky Staub and based on G. Neri’s young adult novel “Ghetto Cowboy”, this image provides a standard redemption story that is tempted by Cole’s reconnection with an old drug trafficking friend. connected is. But the convincing detail accretion of the film and its loving fictionalization of an actual subculture are disarming. (Some of the supporting players are members of the Fletcher Street Riders. The characters they play tell the actual story of the black cowboy in a scene around the campfire.) The quirks of Elba’s character go well with his confident manhood sometimes practically equine hideousness of considerable depth.

Concrete cowboy
Rated R for topics, language, drug use. Running time: 1 hour 51 minutes. Watch on Netflix.



Robert Dunfee