Kevin P. Sullivan
March 27, 2015 AT 09:53 PM EDT

The Harder They Come

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
runtime
120 minutes
performer
Jimmy Cliff, Janet Barkley
director
Perry Henzell
distributor
Island Home Video
genre
Mystery and Thriller, Drama

We gave it a B-

There’s a thrilling story buried somewhere beneath the mounds of imagery and the loosely connected subplots of Boyle’s latest novel. It begins as a twisted tale of First World-meets-Third when Sten, a retired school principal, violently wards off a would-be thief during a trip to Costa Rica. The action then shifts to Northern California, where Sten’s schizophrenic and John Colter-obsessed son is losing his tenuous grip on reality. Boyle can paint a scene in vibrant colors. But he doesn’t know when to stop—usually running on at the cost of his characters, who, to his credit, occupy a dark space between psychosis and Americana and could have sung if they had more room to breathe. B–

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