Thursday, August 09, 2018

The Rider 2017

If you like movies about horses, (and who doesn’t) I recommend taking a look at what might be my favorite movie so far this year. This is a small beautiful movie about a young cowboy living on the Lakota Sioux reservation in the South Dakota badlands with his father and sister and trying to come to grips with his life after a near fatal accident he had while doing a rodeo.
His head is smashed and his rodeo days look to be over but he is a stubborn young man and is determined to ride again. Played by a cast of non actors who are playing themselves, the lead is played by Brady Jandreau who in the film has the name of Brady Blackburn. The camera loves his handsome face and his performance is real authentic and touching. You can feel his strong sense of good.
Brady is a talented cowboy who has the ability to train wild horses and the scenes of him working with these beautiful wild animals are exciting and tender to watch. We also see the care he has for the people he loves including his real life best friend Lane Scott who was also a talented rodeo performer before he had a worst accident than Brady’s and is badly crippled unable to speak and is hospitalized for what looks like to be the rest of his life.
Also home on the range with Brady is his real life father and his real life sister Lily who has functional Asperger's. His relationship with Lily is soft and tender as his is relationship with Lane who he visits often in the hospital helping with his therapy and care. He bucks up against his dad now and again and his mother in the movie is gone, but alive in real life.
Brady is forced to take a job in a supermarket and his distress and sadness over having to do this is strong and real especially when some rodeo fans of his recognize him and asks to pose for some photos with him and you can feel and sympathize with his discomfort. Who of us have never been there.
The young director Chloe Zhao mixes up the real with the fictional so it sometimes feels like we are watching a documentary. She has a unique feel for our American west and the myths and legends that have been part of our collective history, and I’m not talking John Wayne here. The breathtaking cinematography is by Joshua James Richards. Did I mention how much I loved this film?


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