Sony Pictures Classics | Release Date: April 13, 2018
7.9
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Generally favorable reviews based on 59 Ratings
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Mixed:
7
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8
GrantD243Jun 7, 2018
I didn't know a whole lot about The Rider as I walked into the cinema to see it. I didn't watch a trailer for it, and I didn't read anything about it beforehand. All I had seen was the poster for it that my local indie theater had out in theI didn't know a whole lot about The Rider as I walked into the cinema to see it. I didn't watch a trailer for it, and I didn't read anything about it beforehand. All I had seen was the poster for it that my local indie theater had out in the lobby, which claimed that it had won several Spirit awards. From the poster, all I really gathered is that it was about a cowboy. I didn't know that it was loosely based on a true story, or that the people from that true story played themselves in the film, or that it was directed by a Chinese filmmaker. And I'm glad that I didn't. If I had never found out that the people from the real life story played themselves in this film (which I found out shortly after watching it), I would have continued to think that regular actors were in this film. The acting by the main family, and the others involved, is very, very good considering they aren't actors. They're just people that lived an interesting story. Very impressive. The Rider is a Western, but not in the traditional sense. There is no action, there is no grand adventure, but there is, in a sense, a journey. The film begins shortly after Brady gets injured in a rodeo accident. It shows his road to recovery, and everything he has to deal with. It shows how he deals with the prospect of having to give up the only thing he's ever really done, and how heartbreaking the that can be for someone. It's a story that is fairly balanced between hopefulness and sadness, with a little hint of happiness. The only real problem I have with The Rider is that the first third of the film didn't hook me at all. I was starting to lose some interest by the time the second act rolled around, but then it hooked me, and it hooked me hard. I was at full attention for the remainder of the film. But, the first act is still fairly weak, which brought my final score of the film down from the 9.0 or so it probably would have gotten otherwise. The cinematography in this film is bloody excellent. The director made sure to insert various scenic shots throughout the film, all of which are beautiful and really cement in your mind that this is a Western film. Overall, I think that The Rider is going to go down as one of my favorite films of the year. I look forward to watching it again in the future. Expand
1 of 1 users found this helpful10
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9
BHBarryMay 1, 2018
“The Rider” is a rare and unique film (i.e. docudrama) based on the real life story of a young rodeo rider named Brady Jandreau. To understand the film properly, the viewer must know that in 2016 Brady was thrown from the horse he was riding“The Rider” is a rare and unique film (i.e. docudrama) based on the real life story of a young rodeo rider named Brady Jandreau. To understand the film properly, the viewer must know that in 2016 Brady was thrown from the horse he was riding and kicked in the head by its hoof. He had a metal plate inserted in his head and was told that he would never ride again. This real life drama was witnessed by filmmaker Chloe Zhao who at the time was on the Pine Ridge Oglala Lakota Reservation directing her film “Songs My Brothers Taught Me”. Ms. Zhao then wrote and directed the story of Brady Jandreau’s ability to cope with and seek to override the debilitating disability he suffered in his rodeo mishap. What is so unique about this film is that, not only Brady, but his real life sister (mentally underdeveloped 15 year old Lily) and his father, Tim, non-actors all, play themselves in this deep and involved story of life in the mid-west and especially those career cowboys whose lives exist on horseback or bulls, depending on the rodeo event they are in. In addition to the Jandreaus, the film employs the friends of the family including Lane Scott, who plays himself, a rodeo rider severely injured in an automobile accident which not only ended his career but left him a quadrapalegic. Brady Jandreau’s performance is outstanding and hard to reconcile with the fact that this non-actor, playing himself, could give such a meaningful portrayal of how a cowboy who knew only horseback riding can find his way back to adjust and survive with the difficult hand he was dealt. Ms. Zhao’s sensitivity and skill is manifested, not only in the ability to elicit such beautiful performances from her novice cast but to capture the sunrises and sunsets of the Dakota territory where the movie and real life events actually occurred. I give this film a 9.0 and urge that it be seen by all who can appreciate that truth can be much more awesome and powerful than fiction. Expand
4 of 5 users found this helpful41
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9
dannycvegaApr 23, 2018
Visually stunning, emotionally arresting, and profoundly empathetic, I came into this movie not expecting too much from a horse film, and I left teary-eyed and satisfied. Reading some of the so-so reviews, it's clear that some reviewers areVisually stunning, emotionally arresting, and profoundly empathetic, I came into this movie not expecting too much from a horse film, and I left teary-eyed and satisfied. Reading some of the so-so reviews, it's clear that some reviewers are caught on the culture depicted and its greater context in America (horse culture = Trump country), these people have missed the mark entirely and frankly, should be kicked by a horse. This movie is great precisely because it is about truths much bigger than rodeos and bipartisan American politics. It will hit you in the heart if you let it. Expand
4 of 5 users found this helpful41
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10
The3AcademySinsMay 4, 2018
The Rider was a film that truly moved me in ways that I really did not expect it to. A haunting, beautiful reflection on what happens to people when their dreams die, and how clinging to a dream is sometimes more harmful than letting it go.The Rider was a film that truly moved me in ways that I really did not expect it to. A haunting, beautiful reflection on what happens to people when their dreams die, and how clinging to a dream is sometimes more harmful than letting it go. Every single character in this movie suffers from either an injury, disability, or impairment, and that was a really clever choice on the director's part. This is also a "docu-drama" based on a true story, with the actual people who this happened to playing themselves! That honestly makes it even more of an incredible film! The shots are gorgeous, and the west is really captured well on film. Brady was a very relatable character, and I was with him every step of the way. This is definitely not a film to be missed. Expand
3 of 4 users found this helpful31
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9
AugustKellerJun 4, 2018
It is rare for a film to be as moving as The Rider. Taking place in the smallest of settings while being unveiled as the slowest of paces, a heartfelt story is told with the upmost care. While the core plot of The Rider is an old one, theIt is rare for a film to be as moving as The Rider. Taking place in the smallest of settings while being unveiled as the slowest of paces, a heartfelt story is told with the upmost care. While the core plot of The Rider is an old one, the precision with which this film is crafted elevates the experience to a level of relatability and immersion that few motion pictures achieve. From top-notch casting to seamless editing, this is a movie done right.

The direction, sound and acting of The Rider will garner praise for their elite qualities but it is the cinematography of this film that is the real gem. Whether it’s the extended takes of genuine, emotional interactions between living creatures or the deeply cinematic sequences of horse-riding through the sunset, the camerawork of The Rider is undeniable. There is much to love about The Rider and it is because of this diversity in its strengths that the film truly succeeds in a real way. If The Rider doesn’t make you feel something, nothing will. Writing: 7/10
Direction: 9/10
Cinematography: 10/10
Acting: 9/10
Editing: 9/10
Sound: 9/10
Score/Soundtrack: 9/10
Production Design: 7/10
Casting: 10/10
Effects: 7/10

Overall Score: 8.5/10

Original Article: https://thefilmguys.blog/reviews/augusts-reviews/the-rider-2018/
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2 of 3 users found this helpful21
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8
TVJerryJun 10, 2018
This film starts as a laconic look at a young rodeo rider who's suffered a major concussion (Brady Jandreau). As he begins to recover, he deals with the possibility that he'll never be able to compete again. By the end, it's become anThis film starts as a laconic look at a young rodeo rider who's suffered a major concussion (Brady Jandreau). As he begins to recover, he deals with the possibility that he'll never be able to compete again. By the end, it's become an intimate and compassionate portrait of this sweet, talented man. What makes this even more compelling is that the cast is full of non-actors, including Jandreau, his real-life father and his sister, who has Asperser's Syndrome. Their performances are all real and affecting. The scenes where Jandreau trains wild horses are especially fascinating. The creation of this specific cowboy world is made even more involving thanks to Chinese director Chloé Zhao's quiet observations and compelling use of real people (primarily Lakota Sioux). This is an atmospheric and ultimately touching character study set in a unique culture. Expand
1 of 2 users found this helpful11
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8
netflicMay 14, 2018
This is a second movie by young US-educated Chinese director/writer Chloé Zhao
where she shows life of an Indian Lakota tribe in South Dakota.

The protagonist Brady is a young but already famous bronco rodeo rider. He lives to ride and train
This is a second movie by young US-educated Chinese director/writer Chloé Zhao
where she shows life of an Indian Lakota tribe in South Dakota.

The protagonist Brady is a young but already famous bronco rodeo rider.
He lives to ride and train horses. This is something he could not live without. And then life gives him a terrible blow: he gets injured and may no longer ride horses.

The movie is slow but emotionally charged. Life is hard, and choices are even harder. Watching the movie you feel a lot of empathy towards those people. 

In the end when titles start rolling we realize that there are no professional actors in the movie, all people play themselves. And there is not a single moment when the movie felt false.

I will not be surprised to see the film in the Oscar's list.
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1 of 2 users found this helpful11
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9
kl0bryanMay 14, 2018
The Rider is a gem of a movie. The film setting and story is what leads to a 9 rating. The acting is quite good for people who are not professional actors. I hope the movie is able to be seen on more screens. The limited access isThe Rider is a gem of a movie. The film setting and story is what leads to a 9 rating. The acting is quite good for people who are not professional actors. I hope the movie is able to be seen on more screens. The limited access is going to mean too few people will see what is really a very good movie. No special effects, no large budget stages, no costumes. Everything is just raw and real. I know lots of people will leave teary eyed. The ending is not your typical Hollywood ending. A way of life is on full display throughout the story. The movie is not about rodeos or cowboys or Indians. It is about a boy, his family and his friends playing the hand dealt to them. Expand
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8
GreatMartinMay 11, 2018
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
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.
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9
imdoingmypartJun 12, 2018
Sometimes I will watch a newer film and start thinking "what would a bad movie do?" This question works especially well for films with characters and storylines that are not entirely new but are rather adding a new flavor to existing ideas.Sometimes I will watch a newer film and start thinking "what would a bad movie do?" This question works especially well for films with characters and storylines that are not entirely new but are rather adding a new flavor to existing ideas. The question is not meant to be an insult to the film: in fact, I really only think of the question when a newer film seems to be heading in a predictable and uninteresting direction but then takes an unexpected (or at least unconventional) turn into a new experience. It is easy for a novice filmmaker to find a camera and a few dollars and put together a low-budget picture, which makes it much more special when one of these filmmakers (Chloé Zhao) does just that and produces a work like The Rider that turns out to be one of the strongest films of its year.

Zhao's modern cowboy tale takes place in the badlands in South Dakota. The landscape is a character in The Rider, not unlike what the Coen brothers establish in films like No Country for Old Men and Fargo. Our lead character, Brady, deals with isolation; he lives with his drunk, unloving father and moderately autistic sister. Brady loves his family (and in fact demonstrates genuine gentleness and a general respect for living creatures around him in his interactions throughout the film) but cannot relate to them due to his excellence at and obsession with riding and training horses. His passion, however, is severely restrained by his recent head injury. Not only does Brady suffer permanent repercussions from his skull fracture, but he also rides under a cloud of dread knowing that another head injury could kill or severely handicap him. The question constantly occupies Brady's existence: is it worth risking his life doing what he loves most?

Zhao has managed to create a contemplative picture that puts its faith in the audience to ask the right questions. A bad movie would advertise the "rodeo of the year!" on some banner in town and show Brady training in a Rocky-like montage to overcome his head injury and win the big prize against some bully of an opponent. The Rider is so much more respectful of its audience and chooses to focus on character rather than sensationalism. There are no "bad guys" but rather people living their lives the way they know best. This film focuses on passion and its ability to drive a person too far. Suspense hangs in the air every time Brady mounts a horse knowing that it could be his last ride. He does not care; Brady is sure of his calling.

Summer blockbusters are fun and whimsical, but films like The Rider carry a much longer lasting personal impact than montages of car chases and one-liners. It is rare for a film to truly pierce the soul and shake the viewer from the core, elevating from entertainment to transformation, but The Rider comes pretty close to doing just that.
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10
FelicityFenwickAug 16, 2018
I'm utterly in love with this film. Such beauty, such grace. I was pinned to my seat throughout. I feel like I must travel to the Badlands of North Dakota to see where this sucker was filmed. Kudos to the director!
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10
Bizzylorenzo70Aug 11, 2018
Brilliant and mesmerizing movie shot with non-actors on a Lakota Sioux reservation in South Dakota. Brady Jandreau is superb in the lead role here, but truly the whole cast offers astounding realism. What makes it all the more remarkable isBrilliant and mesmerizing movie shot with non-actors on a Lakota Sioux reservation in South Dakota. Brady Jandreau is superb in the lead role here, but truly the whole cast offers astounding realism. What makes it all the more remarkable is that the writer and director is a young Chinese-born female filmmaker. Definitely not for action flick only viewers, but for those that can get into a low-key. cerebral, and often very dark movie then you may very well find this one to your liking. Expand
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9
ldeorioAug 13, 2018
Subtle and powerful, The Rider beautifully captures the essence of family, camaraderie, perseverance and coming to terms with lost dreams. The actors are a joy to watch, avoiding the histrionics that mar many films of this type.
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7
ahmedaiman9999Aug 17, 2018
There is a lot to like about The Rider; The cinematography is gorgeous, with a lot of shots showing the treeless meadows that reflect the protagonist's feeling of loss and emptiness.
Brady Jandreau's acting is so genuine and honest.
There are
There is a lot to like about The Rider; The cinematography is gorgeous, with a lot of shots showing the treeless meadows that reflect the protagonist's feeling of loss and emptiness.
Brady Jandreau's acting is so genuine and honest.
There are some truly great moments that will make you instantly engaged with every character in them. I don't even want to say anything about these scenes, I don't even want to mention the characters they include, because they are unbelievably effective and very poignant.
The movie's message of perseverance and determination also should be considered and appreciated.

The grave issue I have with this movie is its tone.
I love character-driven stories, because they make me close to the main character. In other words, they put me in the protagonist's shoes, or even make me inside his mind. But The Rider's tone is so lifeless, and the story is almost uneventful. Of course, the movie should reflect the gloominess and bleakness of its subject matter, but the tone doesn't pick up even when the story do. Add to that, the movie lacks in dramatic intensity. Aside from some very touching scenes that can break your heart even if you haven't seen the entire film, the movie is so boring and phlegmatic. Honestly, I was bored most of the time while watching it. The dialogue also could have been better. it's so weak and clichéd.

All the performances are good, especially Brady Jandreau as Brady Blackburn, except for the actor who played his dad. His acting is very weak as his bland and flat character.

I had mixed feelings about The Rider. I found it monotonous, and I was bored to death. Nevertheless, I cared about the main character and almost every character around it, I appreciated its message, I was fascinated by its stunning cinematography, and I adored its tear-jerking ending.

(7/10)
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8
CalistoJul 26, 2018
This is a beautiful movie and the director was right in chosing these actors to play those roles. If you wanna watch it with dubbing in many languages, use boxxy software and confirm me that I'm right!
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8
Bertaut1Sep 23, 2018
Partly an elegy for a dissipating way of life, partly an examination of the self-destructive components of contemporary masculinity, and partly a deconstruction of the iconography of the American frontier, The Rider is the second film fromPartly an elegy for a dissipating way of life, partly an examination of the self-destructive components of contemporary masculinity, and partly a deconstruction of the iconography of the American frontier, The Rider is the second film from Chinese-American writer/director Chloé Zhao, and is intimately tied to her debut, Songs My Brothers Taught Me. Set in the same location in South Dakota, featuring the same milieu, and covering some of the same thematic ground, The Rider also owes a more practical debt to Songs. When she was researching that film, Zhao met rodeo rider Brady Jandreau. Promising him she would cast him in one of her subsequent films, Zhao soon learned that Jandreau had sustained a serious cranial injury in a rodeo accident, and been told by doctors that he must give up the only way of life he had ever known, as another blow to the head could kill him. Inspired by his story, Zhao wrote The Rider, a loosely fictionalised version of Jandreau's experiences, in which she cast entirely non-professional actors, including the real Jandreau, his father, sister, and several of his friends, all playing versions of themselves. The result is a kind of semi-fictional docudrama, and one of the finest films of the year.

In depicting Brady's struggle with his new life, Zhao is able to simultaneously romanticize and demythologise the role of the contemporary cowboy; as the story progresses, the film becomes more and more disillusioned with the lifestyle. One of the primary motifs is that of injuries sustained whilst riding, and in relation to this, it's telling that every male Brady meets all express their desire that he start riding again. He and his friends are personifications of the ruggedness of the American West, and the film uses them to facilitate a deconstruction of contemporary masculinity. However, whilst it leaves the audience in little doubt that this lifestyle can lead to ruin, so too does it ensure the viewer knows that Zhao has the deepest respect for these guys; never once does it feel like Zhao is looking down on or satirising them.

The most telling example of this is Lane (Lane Scott). As with the real-life Brady, Lane was a celebrated rodeo with a reputation for riding broncos no one else would touch. A personification of machismo with a devil-may-care attitude, he was adored by women and envied by men. However, as in the film, the real Lane is now almost completely paralysed, capable of communicating only by signing with his left hand, and living permanently in a care facility. The only difference between the real-life Lane and his fictional counterpart is that in reality, he was paralysed in a car crash, whereas in the film it was via riding. This differentiation is telling as it speaks to Zhao's thematic intent. However, as with the other riders, Lane is presented with a great deal of reverence.

Looking at things aesthetically, the film opens with a shot of a horse during a storm, followed by loud thunder. The immediate impression is one of almost elemental forces - two extremes of nature coming together. This is immediately contrasted with Brady waking up and heading into his dingy bathroom to pluck off the staples holding the bandage on his still raw head wound. Thus, in just two shots, Zhao sets up the entire theme of the film - poetic rhetoric and romantic myths are all very well and good, but day to day mundanity can so often get in the way.

Elsewhere, the centrepiece of the film is when Brady decides to start working at breaking in young broncos. The single-take shot where he breaks in an "untrainable" horse is searingly beautiful in its simplicity and elegance. The lack of edits gives it an unmanipulated emotional sense, whilst also meaning there can be no cheating - we're really watching Brady Jandreau break in a stubborn horse. The gentle approach he employs, the constant reassurances to the animal, the way he holds the rope, how he gets the horse used to someone on its back without actually getting all the up, his grace and intuition, his confidence; the totality is, simply put, achingly perfect. What we are seeing obviously comes from a deep natural inclination in the real-life Brady. You can't teach this kind of brilliance, no matter what the discipline is. Indeed, his gentle approach itself is completely at variance with such scenes in other westerns, where we're usually shown someone breaking in a horse by forcing it to respect them, and that in itself speaks as much to Zhao's theme as anything else.

Bleak but achingly beautiful, honest, but deeply respectful, realistic but profoundly poetic, Zhao's depiction of a dying culture and way of life is easily one of the finest films of the year. And how ironic is it that one of the best examinations of American masculinity that you're likely to see in a long time is written and directed by a woman? And a woman born in China to boot. That's sure to irritate the misogynists/xenophobes no end!

8/10
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10
TomasMannAug 15, 2018
Sooo touching! This is a moving piece of work that ought to go down in history as one of the most magnificent films of all time. Loved it! Especially if you are a horse person, you will appreciate the struggle and pain associated with theSooo touching! This is a moving piece of work that ought to go down in history as one of the most magnificent films of all time. Loved it! Especially if you are a horse person, you will appreciate the struggle and pain associated with the story. I used boxxy software to watch this masterpiece! Expand
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9
Slovenly_MuseSep 2, 2018
For Brady, riding and training horses is not just work; it's a labour of love. Love is what shines through every frame of this film. It creates the darkest pits, and is waiting there for us when we fall.
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