It’s as if Brady Jandreau has stepped off the big screen to have a chat. In his Stetson, jeans and cowboy boots and addressing Flickering Myth’s Freda Cooper as “ma’am”, he’s the epitome of the West and the subject of the film, The Rider, which is released in the UK this Friday.
He’s not an actor. Nor are many people in the Chloe Zhao’s drama/documentary hybrid, which made its mark at both Sundance and Cannes last year. As well as giving an intimate look at the lives and traditions of rodeo riders, who take their lives in their hands for eight seconds at a time, it focuses on Brady Blackburn (Jandreau), who suffers a near fatal head injury and is told he can never ride again. But his way of life – it’s not a job – is in his blood and he has to come to terms with his likely future and how to reconcile his hopes and ambitions.
The story is very much Jandreau’s own and he talks frankly about the injury that could have devastated his life, as well as his recovery, which defied medical advice. He also reflects on appearing on screen with other members of his family – his father, sister and father in law – and pays tribute to Zhao’s ability to immerse herself in the cowboy way of life in what started out as a piece of research. An instinctive actor – he’s yet to take a lesson – those instincts are just as strong when it comes to understanding horses ……
The Rider is released in UK cinemas on Friday, 14 September. Read our review here.
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