“The Rider”–movie review   Leave a comment

First, and foremost, “The Rider” is a highly recommended film though it is sad, depressing, poorly edited with the latter making it slow moving setting up the story.

Last week I saw “Lean On Peter” which was a story about a boy and a horse also sad but with a Hollywood ending that just didn’t fit. (Where is Elizabeth Taylor and “National Velvet” when you need them?)

The first startling thing about “The Rider”, though not really known, is that it is based on a true story and includes the lead, his father, (Tim Jandreau) a man’s man who finds it hard to express his love for his son and is also a man who has settled for less. His sister, Lilly (Lilly Jandreau) mentally challenged who clearly worships her brother and best friend, who have never acted before playing movie versions of themselves and all excellent, believable and honest as far as the audience can tell. Brady (Brady Jandreau) is a man with a dream who discovers he may not have that dream due to a severe injury when a horse stomped on his head in a rodeo. He sees the result of what can happen if he continues every time he visits his best friend Lane (the real Lane Scott) who can no longer speak or walk, is paralyzed and will likely spend the rest of his life institutionalized because of his rodeo life. The scenes between Brady and Lane are both sad and uplifting. 

We follow Brady as he clearly wants to get back into the rodeo life but while he is recovering he spends time training horses for which he seems to have a natural instinct for, almost as if he is a ‘horse whisperer’, especially for one horse called Apollo. We see what he wants to do and what he can do and whether he will have to compromise with his life. There is a lot of drama in following how and why Brady comes to the decision he does but it is more of the solving the mystery of the man than in ‘dramatic’ scenes, except, possibly, two scenes between him and his father.

In a way “The Rider” seems to be a look in the past but is still alive in South Dakota where the movie was filmed. His friends are cowboys as they are imagined by the audience but real. They drink, sit around campfires, play guitars, trade stories, pick on, care for and tease each other. You don’t know if they are actors playing real people or real people acting in being themselves.

Chloe Zhao, the director/screenwriter of “The Rider” is a Chinese woman who lives in Colorado and has fallen in love with the people and the scenery of South Dakota, the latter photographed by Joshua James Richard. There is no debating of the beauty of that part of the country but the editor, Alex O’Flynn, allowed Zhao two too many moon and mountain shoots, too many plains scenes and, yes, as beautiful as they may be, too many similar horse scenes, slowing the movie down when they could have been cut without harming the movie, making it tighter. Is Brady Jandreau as stoic, as natural looking, as deep thinking in real life as he is in the movie?

Though I am sure there were no animals harmed in the making of the picture do we really have to see the skinning of a rabbit? There are 4-5 scenes of graphic injury to humans and animals, which are part of the life these people leave but it isn’t necessary to show them and can just be indicated.

“The Rider” is a movie that caused a lot of the audience to talk to each other in the lobby and more than one asked about where it was filmed (didn’t catch it in the credits) while many discussed the director. The most common question was, “What is Brady doing today?”

Along with all the questions and comments the audience tended to agree it was a sad and depressing movie but a powerful one.

Movie trailer



Posted May 11, 2018 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, MOVIE REVIEW, Uncategorized

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