TIFF 2017 Movie Review: THE RIDER

Movie Reviews of films that will be playing at TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) in 2017. Go to TIFF 2017 Movie Reviews and read reviews of films showing at the festival.

THERIDER.jpgAfter suffering a near fatal head injury, a young cowboy undertakes a search for new identity and what it means to be a man in the heartland of America.

Director: Chloé Zhao
Writer: Chloé Zhao
Stars: Brady Jandreau, Tim Jandreau, Lilly Jandreau

Review by Gilbert Seah

The film centres on a rodeo hopeful’s life after his dreams are dashed following a serious rodeo accident.

The audience sees the pain right at the very start when Brady Blackburn, a South Dakota cowboy (Brady Jandreau) manually takes off the medical staples from his wounds. Zhao emphasizes the claustrophobic life of Brady, despite having the open ranges.

He lives with his often drunk and gambling father and mentally challenged sister, Lilly (Lilly Jandreau). His few friends provide him a drinking outlet but it is the rodeo that makes Brady, the man.

If a cowboy cannot ride, then what good is he? These be Brady’s own words. With his injury his brain is sensitive and riding rodeo might be the end of him. Zhao builds good characterizations. The father is not a one sided cardboard has been.

Despite his constant arguments with his son, it is shown at the end that he understands Brady and his decisions. Brady’s anguish, anger and decisions are also well displayed. The horse training and rodeo segments are effectively shot and exciting enough.

Joshua James Richards captures the landscape of the open areas of the west, where horses run free. Simple storytelling, a good human story and one dealing with nature always make a good film.

Cannes Clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DbhO6MkO78U

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