HIDDEN ON STREAMING: 'Concrete Cowboy'

06-02-2021 by Amanda Almonord



Usually, most horse movies involve a young woman riding a horse out on the prairie while her long hair flows in the wind behind her. You might even think about all-American white men of the old Wild West. Netflix shatters those ideas and introduces viewers to a new way of thinking about horses and cowboys with their recently-released film Concrete Cowboy




Inspired by Greg Neri’s novel Ghetto Cowboy, the film tells the story of a fictional version of Fletcher Street Urban Riding Club located in Philly. Here, we meet a young man named Cole, played by Caleb McLaughlin, who was suspended from school because he can’t manage to stay out of trouble. This prompts his mother to send him away for the summer to live with his estranged father Harp, played by Idris Elba, who happens to be a cowboy. Through his father’s tight-knit community, Cole learns how the stables have kept the community together despite the overwhelming threat of generation and growing poverty. 



One of the many beauties of this film is its cinematography. There are literal moments in the movie that can only be described as poetry, most notability when a young boy watches the urban cowboys riding their horses at full speed down the block from his seat in a bus. Another equally powerful moment in the film is when Cole learns how to stand on a horse. The scene feels like a masterclass in filmmaking -- the camera circles him as the scene gets darker, and nothing is left but the pure euphoria of riding a horse. 


Caleb McLaughlin’s performance was noteworthy; he stood his ground in the presence of a veteran actor like Idris Elba. Funnily enough, the other actors that stood out weren’t actually actors themselves. The production hired real-life Philly horse riders, Ivanna-Mercedes and Jamil Prattis, to add authenticity to the film, and it definitely helped.


Concrete Cowboy reminds viewers that family is not about where you come from but the people you meet along the way and that, in the face of an adversary, your support group will have your back. Be prepared to feel inspired after watching this film!