“The Rider” caught my attention due to the performance of Brady Jandreau. Director Chloe Zhao is a workable director, but she leans back enough to let the acting overwhelm the narrative. But, it needed to happen. Brady and the rest of the Jandreau family play versions of themselves. It’s a weird creative choice, but it also invites the audience into a well-defined world. Yet, it isn’t defined for our central figure. Following a massive head injury, our rider hero wants to redefine himself.

Identity politics is the name of the current game. Yet, is there room for a rural figure to understand the balance between masculinity and machismo? The film moves slow and Zhao doesn’t push the film into any easy answers. I don’t expect a rodeo movie to get people to stop seeing Incredibles 2 for the 4th time. However, I wish that people would sit out a film a month for the arthouse circuit.

The Rider deserves to be seen in a quiet theater with a sympatico audience. It’s not overly political, but it also has demands. Divorce yourself from your social media tribe and absorb what it’s laying down.


  • 1 hr and 44 mins
  • R
  • SONY Pictures Classics


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