‘Lawmen: Bass Reeves’ Review: A Riveting Tale of Justice, Courage, and Unyielding Spirit in the Wild West

lawman bass reeves review

Historical biographies are some of the most highly scrutinized pieces of cinema. This is primarily due to the accuracy required to tell a story. Striking a delicate balance between accuracy and the need to deliver ample entertainment value that engages and resonates with the audience is a formidable challenge. However, Chad Feehan excels in what many shapers of such narratives struggle with. He hits every note as the creator of the new Western Drama Series “Lawmen: Bass Reeves.”

Bass Reeves is considered the first Black U.S. Deputy Marshall west of the Mississippi. He was the right hand of the law and giver of justice when those who looked like him were afforded little. And this is his story. While the series reportedly started as an extension of the acclaimed series “Yellowstone,” it eventually became a stand-alone project. According to Esquire, most of what the public knows of Reeves is drawn from a book entitled Black Gun, Silver Star: The Life and Legend of Frontier Marshal Bass Reeves, authored by Art. T. Burton. Apart from the distinctiveness of his role in a polarized South as a lawman of color, he was his distinct character.

Beyond his historical significance as a lawman of color in a divided South, Reeves stood out as an individual. Esquire emphasizes that he wasn’t just any marshal; he held the esteemed position of the region’s most valuable deputy, reputedly apprehending 3,000 outlaws throughout his career. Remarkably, this isn’t the first instance of Reeves’ character being portrayed in cinematic works. The films “Harder They Fall” featured Delroy Lindo, and “Timeless” showcased Colman Domingo, depicting the legendary figure.

The narrative of “Lawmen: Bass Reeves” endeavors to comprehensively unfold Reeves’ journey from his enslaved beginnings to his eventual role as a Lawman. The storyline commences with Reeves on the battlefield, revealing that despite the oppressive circumstances surrounding him, his spirit remains unbridled. Reeves transcends the conventional, presenting himself as an extraordinary individual. Though initially tethered by the shackles of slavery, he refuses to be anyone’s subordinate, showcasing a boldness rarely portrayed in cinematic tales.

While some may find the initial segments unsettling, by the 25-minute mark, the series introduces viewers to a man who fully asserts his identity. Every step of his journey thereafter profoundly impacts the audience, evoking emotions ranging from anger to satisfaction. It stands as a commendable and meritorious piece of work.

David Oyelowo, a skilled artisan, brings the character of Bass Reeves to life with unwavering passion. His portrayal is consistent with his track record of exceptional performances in other esteemed roles. Esquire reports that Oyelowo invested years in thorough preparation for this role, dedicating eight years behind the scenes to convey the narrative of this remarkable individual authentically. The result is evident in every frame, as Oyelowo seamlessly embodies Reeves, exuding his essence from every pore.
Harmony of Talents: The Collective Brilliance Behind Lawmen: Bass Reeves
Indeed, a compelling narrative isn’t crafted by a singular cast member alone. In the end, it’s the collective effort of the cast that weaves a powerful story. Noteworthy contributors include Dennis Quaid, Joaquina Kalukango, Lauren E. Banks, and Donald Sutherland, among others. They wholeheartedly invest their essence into this project, contributing to the myriad factors that elevate “Lawman: Bass Reeves” to a must-watch status.

The narrative’s potency lies in its capacity to evoke emotions in its audience. While it might incite frustration in some, it is profoundly inspiring at its core. Beyond that, it is unfiltered, dynamic, and enthralling, unveiling the multifaceted aspects of Black experiences in temperament, tone, character, background, and vision. The series immerses its audience powerfully, serving as a love story, a tale of retribution, and a narrative of empowerment. “Lawmen: Bass Reeves” is a compelling must-watch, available for streaming on Paramount +.

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