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Past Films

The Rider

  • Starring: Brady Jandreau, Tim Jandreau, Lilly Jandreau
  • Director: Chloé Zhao
  • Genre(s): Adventure, Drama, Comedy, Romance, Western, Music
  • Rating: R
  • Running Time: 104 min.

Once a rising star of the rodeo circuit, and a gifted horse trainer, young cowboy Brady is warned that his riding days are over, after a horse crushes his skull at a rodeo. Back home on the Pine Ridge Reservation, with little desire or alternatives for a different way of life, Brady’s sense of inadequacy mounts as he is unable to ride or rodeo – the essentials of being a cowboy. In an attempt to regain control of his own fate, Brady undertakes a search for new identity and what it means to be a man in the heartland of America.

"With its gorgeous frontier lyricism and its wrenchingly intimate story of a young man striving to fulfill what he considers his God-given purpose, The Rider comes as close to a spiritual experience as anything I've encountered in a movie theater this year. "
- Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times
"Cinema that's challenging and offbeat is always in danger of being overlooked. But "The Rider" deserves to be seen."
- Calvin Wilson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
"You will want to be there, pulling for Brady, no matter what choices he makes. More importantly, you will care about those choices, and about him."
- Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic
"The Rider reinvigorates tropes from the western genre of men, horses, honor codes and vast expanses of nature with a refreshing lack of sentimentality, without sacrificing their inherent lyricism and poetry."
- Ann Hornaday, Washington Post
"But as wrenching as The Rider can be at times, it's also suspenseful and beautiful - a modern-day Western with a hero who's a real discovery."
- Bob Mondello, NPR
"Filmmaker Chloé Zhao turns the story of real-life bronc rider Brady Jandreau into a gritty, graceful character study. Once The Rider hooks you - and believe me, it will - there's no way you will ever forget it."
- Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
"The Rider is the best film I've seen so far in 2018. It also feels like the announcement of a major artistic talent in Zhao."
- David Sims, The Atlantic
"Zhao's film derives its power from the truth that both drives it and inspires it, and the final result is a wholly unique slice-of-life drama."
- Kate Erbland, indieWire
"In telling the story of a disappearing slice of America, Zhao has created a portrait of resilience, and the bonds that last even after the rodeo's over."
- Emily Yoshida, New York Magazine/Vulture
"Movies that blend real life and fiction usually foreground the docu-style realism, using the poetry as grace notes or punctuation. Zhao privileges both, and in so doing creates a work of heartbreaking beauty."
- Bilge Ebiri, Village Voice
"The Rider is a docudrama as elegy, a slice of rodeo realism that both romanticizes and demythologizes the Cowboy Way in a corner of America where that still means something. "
- Roger Moore, Movie Nation
"The Rider is nothing short of a masterpiece, an elegant work of cinematic poetry that elevates the everyday struggles of real people to the level of high art. "
- Clint Worthington, Consequence of Sound
"Chloé Zhao’s The Rider achieves what cinema is capable of at its best: It reproduces a world with such acuteness, fidelity, and empathy that it transcends the mundane and touches on the universal. "
- Peter Keough, Boston Globe
"What really distinguishes [Zhao's] work here is something beyond great filmmaking chops: a vision that is deeply humanistic, founded on a compassionate realism that honors the heartfelt struggles of all the creatures it encounters."
- Godfrey Cheshire,
"Armed with an intimate tale and the true grit of Jandreau’s teeth, The Rider is the best film about searching for a new identity in the wreckage of the American dream since Kathryn Bigelow’s "The Hurt Locker" (2008). It is here to break your heart."
- Chandler Levack, The Globe and Mail (Toronto)