Movie Reviews

‘Concrete Cowboy’ Trailer Has Idris Elba Saddling Up as an Inner City Cowboy on Netflix

Netflix has released the trailer for Concrete Cowboy. The upcoming drama stars Idris Elba (Pacific Rim, Thor) in the lead role in filmmaker Ricky Staub’s feature directorial debut. The drama sees Elba getting up on horseback living the cowboy life while trying to deal with his estranged and troubled teenage son, played by Caleb McLaughlin (Stranger Things, Dora and the Lost City of Gold). As we can see from the trailer, this is both a father/son tale and a modern cowboy tale, making for a unique story.

The trailer kicks off with Caleb McLaughlin’s character Cole getting acquainted with his new home, living with his estranged father. His dad, played by Idris Elba, lives an unconventional lifestyle, with horses in the house and few amenities. Despite Cole’s protests about his new life, his father remains calm and collected. Their lifestyles clash and the two have a difficult time finding common ground. Tensions ease and Cole comes to respect the unique way of life he’s encountering.

The movie is inspired by the novel Ghetto Cowboy by G. Neri. Ricky Staub, in addition to directing, penned the screenplay with Dan Walser. Tucker Tooley, Lee Daniels, Idris Elba, Dan Walser, Jeff Waxman and Jennifer Madeloff serve as producers. Byron Bowers, Lorraine Toussaint, Clifford “Method Man” Smith and members of the Fletcher Street Stables round out the cast. Netflix scooped up the rights to the movie after it debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival last year. Other streaming services such as Apple TV+ were said to be in the mix but Netflix beat out the competition.

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In Concrete Cowboy, 15-year-old Cole (Caleb McLaughlin) is expelled from his high school in Detroit and is sent to North Philadelphia to live with his estranged father, Harp (Idris Elba). His dad finds solace in rehabilitating horses for inner-city cowboys at the Fletcher Street Stables, a real-life black urban horsemanship community that has provided a safe haven for the neighborhood residents for more than 100 years. Cole is conflicted between his increasing respect for his father’s community and his reemerging friendship with troubled cousin Smush (Jharrel Jerome). Cole starts to reassess the priorities in his life as the stables themselves are threatened by gentrification.

This is not the first time that Idris Elba has worked with Netflix. The actor previously produced and starred in the series Turn Up Charlie for the company. Caleb McLaughlin, meanwhile, is very familiar with the streaming service. He has starred on Stranger Things since the series kicked off its run. The sci-fi show remains one of the most popular originals Netflix has produced, with a fourth season on the way. It is expected to debut sometime this year, though no specific release date has been revealed.

Thus far, critics have responded pretty kindly to the movie. It holds a 77 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes as of this writing. That is based on 44 reviews. Concrete Cowboy arrives April 2 on the Netflix streaming service. Be sure to check out the new trailer for yourself.

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Concrete Cowboy poster

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