The Rider (15)
USA/2017/104mins/15. Dir: Chloé Zhao. With: Brady Jandreau
After suffering a near fatal head injury, young South Dakota cowboy Brady Blackburn awakens to be told by doctors he must give up the sport for fear of further injury. But Brady needs to support his family – his sweet sister Lily, who has learning difficulties and his drinking, womanising, gambling father Wayne – and the rodeo is his passion as well as his lifeline. Without it, he must go in search for a new identity, exploring what it means to be a man in the heartland and how he might carve out a new life within it. An indisputably authentic film (with its docudrama feel further enhanced by the non-professional, casting of Brady Jandreau, a real-life rodeo star whose story the narrative is based and his friends and family). Beautifully shot and compassionately staged, this character study looks at contemporary masculinity in the new American West without glorification or judgement.