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The Rider

A luminous and enthralling study of a young South Dakotan cowboy’s struggle following a rodeo injury, from the director of Songs My Brothers Taught Me.

Credits

Dir-Scr Chloé Zhao
Prod Chloé Zhao, Bert Hamelinck, Sacha Ben Harroche, Mollye Asher
With Brady Jandreau, Tim Jandreau, Lilly Jandreau
USA
2017
104min
UK Distribution Altitude Film Distribution

Following her impressive Native American coming-of-age debut Songs My Brothers Taught Me (LFF2015), Chloé Zhao returns to South Dakota for this sublime study of a young Sioux cowboy and his broken dreams. To say that Zhao’s film is a narrative built around the real-life experiences of her non-actors might imply less artistry than this magnificently crafted drama deserves. Cinematographer Joshua James Richards (God’s Own Country) captures glinting rays of sunlight that reflect the soulful presence at the heart of the film, cowboy Brady Jandreau. He plays a semi-autobiographical character alongside his real-life father and sister. After a near fatal rodeo accident and with doctors ordering him not to ride again, Jandreau struggles to leave the sport he loves. Zhao focuses on Brady’s moving interaction with the horses and his tight community of fellow-riders. In doing so, she delivers an enthralling portrait of America’s cowboy culture and an archetypal story of a young man redefining his hopes and ambitions.

Tricia Tuttle

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