Rider of justice is an absolutely brilliant Danish film that skilfully crosses genres. What begins as a revenge thriller turns into an evil black comedy with a lot of heart. An excellent cast, led by the always fantastic Mads Mikkelsen, will make you laugh and crawl out loud at the same time. Rider of justice is great entertainment with a subversive edge. It is rare to see a film that successfully addresses so many different subjects.
Rider of justice begins with a seemingly harmless theft that spurns a tidal wave of events. In Denmark, teenagers Mathilde (Andrea Heick Gadeberg) and their mother (Anne Birgitte Lind) receive unexpected news. Markus Hansen (Mads Mikkelsen) has decided to stay with his unit in Afghanistan for another three months. He takes care of his family but has made his career as a soldier a priority. His wife decides to have a “Skip Day” and take their daughter to town for fun.
In the meantime, Otto (Nikolaj Lie Kaas), a friendly statistician with a crippled arm, Lennart (Lars Brygmann), a brilliant hacker with psychological problems, and Emmenthaler (Nicolas Bro), a very obese and sensitive computer modeler, are unceremoniously dismissed from their jobs. Otto trudges home on a crowded train. He generously gives his seat to a nice woman and her daughter. When the train crashes in a terrible incident. Otto is overwhelmed with guilt in order to survive. But when Otto examines the details of the tragedy, he comes to the conclusion that it was not an accident.
There are many surprises in this film. The plot is layered with different characters constantly changing the direction of the narrative. The socially awkward special balls and soldiers of the elite special forces are in a unique situation. A clear mission of vengeance lies ahead of them. But they have to work together to achieve their goal. Learning to deal with sadness, anger, and loneliness leads to a newfound meaning. The characters face their deepest inadequacies as they discover what it means to belong. Your journey is eye-opening and unexpectedly profound.
Rider of justice has dark comedic elements ranging from subtle conversation to squabbling verbal thrusts to wild visual revelations. There are scenes in this film that are hysterical but devastatingly disturbing. Each character has a backstory that shaped their unique personality. These past events come to light at various points in the narrative. The topics are uncomfortable but thoughtfully explored with humor. Laughter can be the best medicine when it comes to heartbreaking situations.
The director / screenwriter Anders Thomas Jensen does an excellent job here on all fronts. His script is well written and executed with a skillful touch. The cast of the ensemble plays off each other without exaggerating the bold material. From the graphic action scenes to the quieter moments of understanding and friendship, their chemistry is central. Rider of justice is a box office gem and one of my favorite films of the year. Rider of justice has Danish dialogue with English subtitles. The film is mainly produced by Zentropa Entertainments. It will be released in theaters on May 14 in the US by Magnet Releasing and Magnolia Pictures and will be available on request a week later on May 21.
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