‘The Rider’ (2018)

The best film of 2018 so far. The poetic melancholic masterpiece ‘The Rider’ at the Sydney Film Festival. Directed by 36 year old Chloe Zhao a Chinese woman born in Beijing who tells the story of a former rodeo star and young man who grapples with letting go of his rodeo dreams after a severe head injury. Sounds hokey, yet it’s instead a poem of the human condition an elegy to dreams and a searing examination of masculinity and the romanticism of the American Wild West. The actor of the young man is a revelation, remember this name: Brady Jandreau. I remember watching Jennifer Lawrence in her breakout role in ‘Winter’s Bone’ at the SFF and I had the same visceral reaction to his performance as I did to hers. Only someone who is so outside of this world as Chloe Zhao is could have captured the romantic world of the Rodeo as well as she has. I simply broke down in tears not once but on a few occasions while journeying into the soul of this character. One of the most gut wrenching, laconically gorgeous and emotionally devastating films I have seen in years. I predict many Oscar noms for this film 10/10.