Best thing you'll see all week: The Rider


The Rider is a laconic yet lyrical expression of empathy, found in the barren expanse of South Dakota, among people who have the audacity to sit on top of a thousand pounds of brutish flesh that don’t want to be sat on.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at


I did enjoy this film. I found it more of a portrait film than a story. But there were definitely several interesting threads in it.

Our hero had a bright future, and some real talent/skill in several areas, but could he see it? Supporting cast definitely added a lot of flavor.


The family portrayed there is also a family IRL, correct?


They are. The lead did indeed have an accident that actually influenced the film, and the guy who was at the facility was pretty much portrayed exactly as how he was injured. I think the lead was not injured in a rodeo accident in real life but I could be mistaken.

I mostly loved how the film was shot, but in most cases the acting is extremely raw. If you don’t like that kind of thing you may not like this movie, and the first few minutes are really jarring because of it. Everything up to the bonfire scene. Somehow, after that, it kinda kicks in and you settle into it.

— Alan


Which I didn’t realize until the credits. It was quite the gut punch to see the actors playing Brady, Wayne, and Lilly all had the same last names. The Lane Scott stuff I figured out given the videos shown of his earlier days compared to the actor’s condition in the movie. But otherwise, what a tremendous piece of work on Zhao’s part bringing these people together for her movie.



The Rider’s one of the most beautiful, powerful, and emotional movies I’ve ever seen, so this news about Zhao directing a movie for Marvel isn’t what I was hoping she would line up for her next feature. At the very least, I hope she’ll get a big pay day.


Oh dear. Well, if Karen Kusama can bounce back from Aeon Flux, I’m sure Chloe Zhao can weather whatever happens with this.



The Rider was one of Barack’s top picks of the year. He also loved Leave No Trace and Shoplifters, so he’s officially a discerning AF cineaste now. :)


I just watched this and thought it was really beautiful. It’s surprising how uncommon this kind of docu-fiction approach is in the world of movie making, especially when you consider how effective it can be. What a gorgeous movie.

The news about Chloe Zhao getting a Marvel movie is kind of depressing, as such announcements always are, but it’s cause for celebration that a woman is finally getting plucked from indie-obscurity to go play with the boys and their toys. Still, I don’t like to think of all independent cinema as just a breeding ground and try-out for f*cking Marvel.


Yeah, it can feel that way with English-language national cinema, too. Aussie director Cate Shortland, of Somersault fame, is also directing a big blockbuster for Marvel, Black Widow, which hopefully will at least be shot down under! I guess it’s partly a consequence of the mid-range budget adult drama film becoming increasingly rare, so we’re noticing this massive jump between indies and blockbusters happen more frequently.