A Brilliant Exposition of American Life: The Rider


The Rider by Chloe Zhao tells the story of the hard-scrabble life of rodeo riders on a South Dakota reservation. The Rider is honest feeling to its core, and is presented in a simple yet elegant fashion.

The main character of The Rider is a recently injured rodeo rider named Brady Jandreau (played by Brady Blackburn). Brady must come to terms with the fact that what he feels he was born to do – riding – is now a life threatening event.  Brady has the support and love of his family and friends.  However, given economics and other hard realities of life, Brady will reach his decision on his own terms.

I knew little to nothing about The Rider going into the viewing. Similar to Winter’s Bone (2010) it is hard to discern if the The Rider is a documentary or fictional piece of work. It’s script is fictional injected with the truism’s of life and actual factual situations.  The Actor’s in the film are related or know each other in real life.  Zhao blends all of these aspects with terrific effect.


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