The difficulty with writing a review is that unless you are paid to write reviews as a job, you normally chose a film to which you are attracted for some reason; and this is just as true for me. I chose The Rider because I love westerns.
I went to see ‘The Rider’ with Brady Jandreau because I have always loved reading western stories and even more watching movies and TV series. For my generation, they were the staple feed for TV and the movie theatres.
I have also come to love the scenery and the characters often depicted in these movies and described by authors like Zane Grey, Louis L’Amour, Cormac McCarthy and Oliver Strange.
Chloé Zhao’s movie is about a rodeo rider who suffers a major life-changing injury, but has difficulty in transitioning from that person on a pedestal to being what? The movie is really a semi-biographic retelling of the life of Brady Jandreau, but the director would never have got near the real-life characters if it had been approached as a biography.
The story is gritty, at times it lacks the smoothness of actors who have spent their lives learning to act, but this is more than made up for by the real people playing roles that they know because they are their roles. Even the animals and the scenery takes on a more than real feel.
You learn how for a lot of rodeo riders they live a boom or bust existence, and when they finish often it is back to being on the edge of survival.
I went to the Queens Film Theatre for the 9 pm performance, wondering if there would be many who would venture out for a movie which whilst getting a lot of accolades, has done so in a quiet slowly progressing way. I was soon put right, it was almost a packed theatre, all became enticed into the story, a quietness descended over the theatre and it stayed that way until people started leaving almost after the credits had nearly finished and not before.
The performances are nothing short of miraculous from all, and I hope to look forward to more movies with Brady and members of the cast in the future.
I earnestly suggest you go and see this movie.