Monday, May 17, 2021
MOVIE REVIEW: RIDERS OF JUSTICE
Now Screening at The Loft Cinema
Mads Mikkelsen is one of the many things that makes Anders Thomas Jensen’s Riders of Justice one of the year’s best films so far. He’s brilliant in a movie that dares to dig below the surface of a revenge movie plot and provide characters of substantial depth.
The movie is a lot of things: a revenge thriller, a touching family drama/tragedy, and, most surprisingly, a buddy comedy. Now, when I say buddy comedy, we are talking a pitch-dark buddy comedy where some of the buddies wind up unconscious on the side of the road after another buddy viciously punches them in the face. Okay, I might have to remove the buddy comedy label, but the film is often darkly funny.
Mikkelsen is Markus, a stoic soldier on a tour of duty when he gets tragic news and must return home to his daughter, Mathilde (the excellent Andrea Heick Gadeberg). The tragedy involved a train accident that Mathilde survived but that claimed the life of another family member. Otto (Nikolaj Lie Kaas), an eccentric man who sat near Mathilde on the train, informs Markus that he believes the accident wasn’t an accident after all. Markus goes from intrigued to obsessed with Otto’s theory and, with Otto and some of his oddball friends in tow on his revenge quest, the bodies begin to pile up.
Jensen directs with steady efficiency through all of the film's wild turns and shifting tones, pulling great performances out of the entire cast. The movie has its share of shocks to go with its laughs; you’ll find yourself giggling at something than recoiling in horror. At times, you might find yourself doing both. Lars Brygmann and Nicolas Bro round out the rest of Markus’s makeshift “gang” and they provide many of the laughs.
Mikkelsen is on a roll with this and last year’s Another Round. His Markus is a splendid creation, a cold bastard delivered a bad hand who avoids all of your typical action-thriller stereotypes. He’s as unique a character as you will see in a movie this year.