Far removed from the stereotypical white men in the Old West, the Fletcher Street Cowboys have their own rich tradition of raising horses on the streets of Philadelphia. The new Netflix film Concrete Cowboy examines their way of life through the lens of a prodigal son, who returns to Philly after a long absence to spend time with his father, a leader in the cowboy community. A moving coming of age story and a nuanced depiction of a father-son relationship, Concrete Cowboy flips the myth of the cowboy on its head–a tight-knit community is more powerful than a lone ranger.
When fifteen year-old Cole (Caleb McLaughlin) is expelled from school in Detroit, he is sent to North Philadelphia to live with Harp (Idris Elba), his estranged father. Harp 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. Torn between his growing respect for his father’s community and his reemerging friendship with troubled cousin Smush (Jharrel Jerome), Cole begins to reprioritize his life as the stables themselves are threatened by encroaching gentrification.
Inspired by the novel “Ghetto Cowboy” by G. Neri, Concrete Cowboy is directed by first-time feature filmmaker Ricky Staub, written by Ricky Staub and Dan Walser and produced by Tucker Tooley, Lee Daniels, Idris Elba, Dan Walser, Jeff Waxman and Jennifer Madeloff. Byron Bowers, Lorraine Toussaint, Clifford “Method Man” Smith and members of the Fletcher Street Stables also co-star in this moving father-son drama about a teen caught between a life of crime and his estranged father’s vibrant urban-cowboy subculture.
Official Selection at the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival
Director | Ricky Staub
Writers | Ricky Staub, Dan Walser
Based On | ‘Ghetto Cowboy’ by G. Neri
Producers | Tucker Tooley, Lee Daniels, Idris Elba, Dan Walser, Jeff Waxman, Jennifer Madeloff
Cast | Idris Elba, Caleb McLaughlin, Jharrel Jerome, Byron Bowers, Lorraine Toussaint, Clifford “Method Man” Smith
© 2021, Seth Barmash. All rights reserved.