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The Rider (2017)

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After suffering a near fatal head injury, a young cowboy undertakes a search for new identity and what it means to be a man in the heartland of America.

Director:

Chloé Zhao

Writer:

Chloé Zhao
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2,073 ( 64)
22 wins & 38 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Brady Jandreau ... Brady Blackburn
Mooney Mooney ... Gus
Tim Jandreau Tim Jandreau ... Wayne Blackburn
Lilly Jandreau Lilly Jandreau ... Lilly Blackburn
Leroy Pourier Leroy Pourier ... Frank
Cat Clifford Cat Clifford ... Cat Clifford
Tanner Langdeau Tanner Langdeau ... Tanner Langdeau
James Calhoon James Calhoon ... James Calhoon
Lane Scott Lane Scott ... Lane Scott
Cameron Wright Cameron Wright ... Rodeo Cowboy #1
Jordon Slick Phelps Jordon Slick Phelps ... Rodeo Cowboy #2
Donnie Whirlwind Horse Donnie Whirlwind Horse ... Rodeo Cowboy #3
Terri Dawn Pourier Terri Dawn Pourier ... Terri Dawn (as Terri Dawn Landreau)
Allen Reddy Allen Reddy ... Bill (as Alan Reddy)
Greg Barber Greg Barber ... Bar Owner
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Storyline

Brady Blackburn, a rodeo bronc rider with some renown, learned everything he knows about horses and riding from his parents, Wayne and the now deceased Mari Blackburn. Brady is recovering from a fall off a bronking horse in a rodeo, the most serious of the injuries being a skull fracture which required a metal plate being inserted into his head. Including checking himself out of the hospital earlier than advised, Brady is determined to get back up onto the literal and proverbial horse as quickly as possible as being a cowboy is all he knows. But deep in his heart he knows that returning to the rodeo in particular is something that is probably not in the cards without increased risks, which is eventually confirmed by his doctor who tells him that he cannot sustain another serious head injury without some major consequence. He does not even want his friends and family to treat him with kid gloves in being able to do any of those physical activities which are part and parcel for him of ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Western

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

13 April 2018 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Rider See more »

Filming Locations:

Badlands, South Dakota, USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$42,244, 15 April 2018, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$2,419,031, 13 December 2018
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Caviar, Highwayman Films See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Writer and director Chloé Zhao first met Brady Jandreau during her research for her earlier film, Songs My Brothers Taught Me (2015). She visited the ranch where Jandreau was working and he was teaching her how to ride a horse. She wanted to put him in one of her films, and when he had the accident that left him with life changing head injuries, she decided to base the script for her next film on his story. See more »

Quotes

Brady Blackburn: You know, Lilly, I believe God gives each of us a purpose.
Lilly Blackburn: Very true.
Brady Blackburn: To the horse, it's to run across the prairie. For a cowboy, it's to ride.
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Connections

References Sesame Street (1969) See more »

Soundtracks

I'm Gonna Eat My Vegetables
Written by Robert Porembski
Courtesy of FirstCom Music
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User Reviews

 
Cowboy up
27 April 2018 | by ferguson-6See all my reviews

Greetings again from the darkness. Sometimes the universe creates its own balance. Watching this little independent gem the day before watching the new Avengers movie reinforces what a diverse art form the cinema provides. Writer/director Chloe Zhao continues to make her presence felt as a filmmaker, and movie lovers are the beneficiaries.

While filming her feature film debut SONGS MY BROTHER TAUGHT ME on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota in 2015, Ms. Zhao met Brady Jandreau, a rising young star on the rodeo circuit. She knew a movie was in their future, but it wasn't until the following year when the story wrote itself. Brady suffered a severe head injury after being bucked by a bronco. He was in a coma for 3 days, and a metal plate was screwed into his skull. Doctors warned Brady that riding a horse again could kill him.

This is not a documentary, but it's pretty darn close. Brady Jandreau plays Brady Blackburn, a rodeo bronco rider and horse trainer who is recovering from a severe head injury. Mr. Landreau's real father Tim and sister Lilly also appear as themselves. In fact, most of the characters are locals rather than actors, and many (including the Jandreaus) are part of the Oglala Lakota Sioux tribe on the reservation. Also playing himself is Lane Scott, Brady's best friend who is now paralyzed and unable to speak - the tragic result of another rodeo ride gone wrong. These two are like brothers, and their interactions provide some of the most emotional moments in the movie.

The film is more cycle of life, than circle of life. It's about having a lifelong dream snatched from your clutches. We follow Brady as he searches for his new place in life. Campfire confessions with his rodeo buddies portray the bond created by risking life and limb. His mother is dead, and Brady's dad has spent a lifetime telling him to "cowboy up" - meaning, be a man and fight through every situation. Now dad is telling him to "let it go" and "move on". This contradicts his friends who encourage him to not give up on his dream.

Brady's moments with his sister Lilly are some of the sweetest and most poignant. Despite her autism, Lilly is precious as she sings songs and offers clear insight to her brother. This is less about acting and more about being. Guns, horses, and pot play significant roles throughout, as does the stunning South Dakota landscape as photographed by cinematographer Joshua James Richards. The intimacy of Brady's internal struggle somehow dwarfs the breathtaking sunsets. His quietly simmering intensity is masked by a stone face that only seems to brighten when around friend Lane, sister Lilly, or training yet another "unbreakable" horse.

Rather than traditional story arc, this is simply a compelling way of life for people who put up no false fronts. Brady is trying to figure out how to be a man after life has stolen his dream. One's purpose is essential to one's being, and thanks to filmmaker Zhao we witness how one tough cowboy fights through.


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