Concrete Cowboy Review : Keeping up with Philadelphia’s cowboys

Cole (Caleb McLaughlin), 15, named after American saxophonist John Coltrane, has a similar childhood with his namesake. The boy has an absent father, a father who happens to be an urban cowboy in Philadelphia. But Cole’s fate changes overnight when his mother forces him to stay with his father after a violent episode at school. This is the story of Ricky Staub’s ‘Concrete Cowboy’, a modern cowboy story produced and starring Idris Elba at the helm.

Caleb’s ‘Stranger Things’ fame is excellent as Cole, trying to find his footing in Philadelphia. He takes a minute to get used to the ways of his father Harp and his house, full of old beer, cheese, and a very patient horse squatting in the living room. Idris Elba plays Harp, who is tough on Cole for his own good. While Cole initially wanders off his father’s cowboy ways, he is soon drawn into the world when he hooks up with his own horse: Boo.

Based on Greg Neri’s novel ‘Ghetto Cowboy’, the film explores the lives of urban Philadelphia cowboys who live on Fletcher Street. The movie even stars real-life outback cowboys. In a poignant sequence in the film, Cole begins to understand why the men and women of the city have such high regard for their horses, while constantly under threat of gentrification. Even Smush (Jharrel Jerome), a small-time drug dealer on the show, who often clouds Cole’s judgment, has poignant aspirations to reunite with his horse.

The movie shines best when your horses get screen space. However, the same cannot be said for his exploration of interpersonal relationships.

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