The Rider (15)

The Rider (15)

Directed by Chloe Zhao
Picturehouse, Liverpool
14th – 20th September 2018

Reviewed by Colin Serjent

This is a very appealing watch, not least because the horses featured in it, among the majestic landscape of South Dakota, are beautiful creatures.

it is largely based on the life of cowboy Brady Jandreau (he is called Brady Blackburn in the film), who is a champion rodeo rider, but suffered misfortune when falling heavily from a horse during a competition, which led to him having to have a metal plate inserted inside his skull.

Like Brady, his father, Tim, and teenage sister Lilly, play versions of themselves – the role play by these non-professional actors is outstanding.

Praise must go to director Chloe Zhao for inducing memorable performances from the three of them.

Brady is advised not to ride again, but being a 20-year-old young man, wants to make the decision himself whether to retire from rodeo or make an attempt to get back behind the reins.

Another figure who appears as himself is his close friend, a fellow rodeo rider, Lance Scott, who has been left paralysed and unable to speak after a riding accident.

Brady visits him in hospital on a regular basis, perhaps pondering whether he wants to end up in a similar condition as Lance, if he makes a comeback to the rodeo ring.

One memorable scene in The Rider is when Brady shows his prowess, in real life and on film, at horsemanship, when he tames an unruly horse in real time.

A beguiling moment occurred when Brady and Lilly, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, watched the sun set amid the rolling hills. Lilly said “Bye, bye Sun, see you in the morning.”

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