Thursday, May 13, 2021

Riders of Justice - Movie Review

The Movie: Riders of Justice

The Director: Anders Thomas Jensen

The Cast: Mads Mikkelsen, Nikolaj Lie Kaas, Andrea Heick Gadeberg, Lars Brygmann, Nicolas Bro,

Gustav Lindh, Roland Møller

The Story: Markus, who has to go home to his teenage daughter, Mathilde, when his wife dies in a tragic train accident. It seems like an accident until a mathematics geek, who was also a fellow passenger on the train, and his two colleagues show up.

The Review:
A couple weeks ago, this movie wasn't anywhere near my radar for movies to watch and now here I am about to tell about how it is one of the best and most entertaining movies I have watched this year. I mean, to start off Mads Mikkelsen is about as badass as we've ever seen him and in that sort of aging yet still highly skilled style that Liam Neeson popularized with the Taken franchise. That being said this definitely is not just another beat everyone up and rack up a high body count type of movie, Anders Thomas Jensen's screenplay covers a lot of ground that I wasn't really expecting.

Yes, this is definitely an action movie although, it is a crime thriller with lots of twists and turns, it is a genuinely funny comedy, and I think most importantly, it is also a human drama that deals with grief and loss and mental health issues. That last bit is what really got me engaged with the story telling and right from the start. Each character is a real person dealing with their own set of personal struggles and each of them deals with those issues in powerful ways as the story plays out. Even as the group of men who are thrown together for a common cause are often at each other's throats, they form a bond that is very authentic and quite honestly very heartwarming by the time it's all said and done.

Can I just say that Mads Mikkelsen just keeps getting better and better as his career moves along? I mean, he has played just about every type of character within every type of genre and he has also successfully avoided getting typecast as a particular character type. What he does in this movie is so good as he goes from a bitter, angry, and violent one note character that I was worried would fall flat as the movie progressed to a man filled with emotion and vulnerability who does everything he can to protect what he has left. It's a beautiful arc by the time it's over and I don't think anyone else could have given what he gave to this particular role.

The rest of the cast is really fun and very eclectic and I think what impressed me the most is how each of them has a very distinct arc that is woven in perfectly to the overall story. There are themes of friendship and family that play out along with the mental health aspects that I mentioned and, even as crazy and wacky as some of them can be, you learn to understand why they have the flaws that they have and you really get to know them thanks to the strength of the performances. I would actually be very interested in seeing more from this fun cast of characters so if Jensen has any plans to continue their story, I'm here for all of it. 

I think the real genius of this movie is how it does so many things and does them all really really well. On top of all the action and espionage, this is a genuinely funny movie and then to top it off, Jensen hits you in the emotions with a finale that I'm not ashamed to admit had me tearing up a bit. Or maybe I was cutting onions while watching the movie or maybe it was really dusty in the room. I don't know if I could have asked for a more complete experience watching a movie from beginning to end.

The Verdict:
Riders of Justice is the crime thriller comedy emotional drama I never knew I always wanted. Anders Thomas Jensen absolutely nails the story and Mads Mikkelsen shows why he is one of the most highly respected actors working today. I really hope you enjoy this movie as much as I did.

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