The Rider

Screened at the 2018 San Francisco Film Festival

Opens in U.S. April 13, 2018


The Rider


This film almost looks like a documentary, but it is actually a hybrid as the movie focuses on life crisis of a rodeo competitor Brady Blackburn. We meet him as he is recovering from a life threatening head injury, which we realized happened during his brilliant but very daring and dangerous competitive riding, which occurred on top of wild untamed horses. We come to understand his love of horses and his uncanny connection to them. He knows he is supposed to stay away from the sport as his brain and body must heal. We are given insight into his character as we see his relationship with a very good friend, who is a like brother to him and is now in a hospital brain damaged after being thrown from a horse. We also see his caring tender relationship with his younger sister who appears to have a developmental disability as well as his interactions with his caring father who had been very rough on him. The movie is directed by Chloe Zhao who met the star of the movie on an Indian Reservation while filming a 2014 movie titled Songs My Brothers Taught Me. This director certainly achieved some very interesting footage particularly as the star interacts and trains his horses.

To many people rodeo competitive riding and the heroes who participate in it is as captivating as competitive football is to many other Americans. It occurred to one of us that the movie could have very well been highlighting the dilemma of those football stars who are faced with life threatening head injuries from the sport that they also love (2018).

Category: 3 Stars, Drama, Sport | Tags: , , , , , , 2 comments »

2 Responses to “The Rider”

  1. Ronald Tyrco MD

    As a competitive rider- equestrian- of 25 years I found the first 30 minutes of the film depressing. I then realized that to understand this film one would really have to be immersed in the. In the cowboy culture as I have. I switched gears from my physician persona to that of my riding days. All of the characters were decent, sensitive and very human -even the pawn broker. I found myself crying through the last half of the film begginning with the shooting of the horse having been caught in barbed wire. The film touched me on many and perhaps too many levels – the losses, the pain of living, the nostalgia of riding in the open air and plains, the kindness of the people I have met – mostly cowboys, cowgirls and their partners. What can I say? This film is a paradigm of life. Ronald Turco, MD

  2. Ronald Turco

    PS. I think you have missed the point of this film. See my review above. This film is NOT about sport (only) -it is about a WAY OF LIFE I do not expect Easterners to understand – but at least see it as a paradigm of life. And much more than competition or sport! Ronald Turco MD

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