Rider of justice is a risky film where you can cheer one moment and flinch the next. The author and director Anders Thomas Jensen mixes a real revenge thriller with a dark farce. It shouldn’t work … but somehow it works.
A major reason for the success is starring Mads Mikkelsen, a soldier with an impressive presence (shaved head, bushy beard) and a spiky personality to match. He’s about that far from the personable teacher in Thomas Vinterbergs Another round as you can imagine … but it is this unexpected ferocity that makes this performance so effective.
After losing his wife in a train wreck, he has to take care of their teenage daughter, with whom he already has a rocky relationship. This is made even more complicated by the arrival of three super nerdy statistics experts who believe the train crash wasn’t an accident. Violence inevitably breaks out – and it is never played for laughing. Nevertheless, the three comrades explain a streak of absurdity that runs through the film. Their highly bizarre personalities are an integral part of the story.
This is a tricky balancing act, but Jensen manages it. He has written many of Mikkelsen’s most famous films (Brothers, after the wedding Wilbur wants to kill himself) For this rare attempt to direct, he knew he could rely on his star. And whether or not you accept his daring smorgasbord of story threads, you have to admit that he offers it with full conviction.
Rider of justice opens in theaters today and is available upon request. Learn more at www.RidersofJustice.com.