The Rider

A film by Chloé Zhao. Inn eng­lish with ger­man subtitles.

A hor­se’s pur­po­se is to run in the prai­ries; a cow­boy’s is to ride.” So, what does a cow­boy beco­me when he can no lon­ger ride? This is the ques­ti­on at the cent­re of Chloé Zhao’s The Rider, and the defi­ning con­flict for its prot­ago­nist, Bra­dy Blackburn. A skil­led rodeo cow­boy and hor­se trai­ner, Bra­dy suf­fers a near-fatal acci­dent that abrupt­ly halts his care­er and for­ces him to con­tem­pla­te what a new life could look like.

The abi­li­ty to ride defi­nes a man’s worth in Bra­dy’s world. Though riding and hor­ses are never far from his thoughts, Bra­dy now spends his days working at the local super­mar­ket and his nights drin­king with his bud­dies. With his mother gone and with a bor­der­line alco­ho­lic father with a gamb­ling pro­blem, Bra­dy finds hims­elf respon­si­ble­for his 15-year-old sis­ter, Lil­ly. With his limi­ted edu­ca­ti­on, money and local fame may seem easiest to come by in the world of rodeo, but so are inju­ry and even death.

Retur­ning to the docu­dra­ma tech­ni­que that ear­ned her debut fea­ture, Songs My Bro­thers Taught Me, cri­ti­cal acc­laim, Zhao inte­gra­tes the real lives of her actors into her sto­ry­tel­ling. Majes­ti­cal­ly cap­tu­red by Joshua James Richards‘ inti­ma­te pho­to­gra­phy, the dus­ty, expan­si­ve land­s­capes pro­vi­de the can­vas for Zhao’s art. Stoic and fearless with a rare sen­se of authen­ti­ci­ty, she embraces the huma­ni­ty of its cha­rac­ters and explo­res defi­ni­ti­ons of mas­cu­lini­ty without glo­ri­fi­ca­ti­on or judgment. The Rider is less a wes­tern than a film about the real Ame­ri­can west.

USA 2017, 104 Min., engl. OmU
Regie: Chloé Zhao
Kame­ra: Joshua James Richards

Schnitt: Alex O’Flinn
Dar­stel­ler: Bra­dy Jand­reau, Tim Jand­reau, Lily Jand­reau, Lane Scott

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