TIFF 2017: Our Review of ‘The Rider’

Posted in Festival Coverage, Movies, Theatrical, TIFF 17, TIFF 2017 by - September 09, 2017
TIFF 2017: Our Review of ‘The Rider’

The Rider arrives at TIFF having been praised for its realistic portrait of a young cowboy struggling with self-identity after a near-fatal head injury obtained from a bucking rodeo horse. A cast of non-actors plays fictionalized versions of themselves in a story drawn directly from their own lives.

Set on South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, the film follows Brady (Brady Jandreau) after his accident occurs. As we are introduced to Brady we see that almost half of his head looks like a zipper made of staples holding his skull shut. Determined to still “cowboy up” in front of his friends and family, Brady tries to continue his regular routine but soon discovers that he can’t. But as time moves on, Brady doesn’t appear to be getting better at the rate that he would like. How long can he stay away from the only life he’s ever known?

The Rider’s strengths and weakness all come down to its inexperienced cast, thankfully it’s lead is well up to the task. Brady Jandreau delivers a grounded, nuanced and compelling performance, retelling the experience of his own accident. The supporting cast provides mixed results though as while the family delivers but others in Brady’s life struggle under the weight of project.

Director Chloé Zhao’s camera never moves far from its subject as it draws the audience further into Brady’s struggle. It loses some steam towards the end as it moves towards its inevitable conclusion, but the audience never stops being invested in Brady.

This post was written by
Kirk Haviland has spent over 20 years working in Entertainment Retail which has enabled him to have a unique opinion and perspective on film and music. Along with being a well known figure around Toronto film festivals and movie repertory houses with his trademark spiked locks and jovial attitude, Kirk is also works for the "Blood in the Snow" Canadian Film Festival in multiple positions. Opinionated and outspoken yet easily approachable, Kirk writes for multiple outlets in the city of Toronto, and is very happy to bring his unique perspective to the readers at IN THE SEATS.