Best known for the Off-Broadway musicals, "The Last Session," "The Big Voice: God or Merman?" and "New World Waking," a song cycle for peace and justice.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

RIP Trevor Rhone -- "The Harder They Come"


I don't know why the movie, "They Harder They Come" hit me as hard as it did. Maybe because it was because it was about injustice -- country boy comes to the big city to make it in the music industry only find it corrupt and abusive, and "ends up a gangster who dies in a hail of bullets," as the NY Times obit puts it. Aside from bringing reggae music to the larger world, it also exposed the racism and class divisions in Jamaica.

I think it has the greatest soundtrack of any movie ever. Rootsy. Ragged. Filled with life. Filled with pain. I connected to them on a deep, spiritual level. And I'll never forget how I felt when I finally saw the film, years after it was released. Devastated. Exhilarated.

This is the kind of movie Quentin Tarantino wishes he could make. It's violent, ugly and real, thanks also to Perry Henzell's unflinching direction -- he also co-wrote.

The writer of this Jamaican masterpiece died of a heart attack on Tuesday. Rest in peace. You helped shed light where there had been no light.
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