The Rider

I am fascinated by the process for this film - a hybrid between documentary and narrative feature. Zhao built a film around a man she met, a rodeo bronco rider who really had been severely injured. Was this film like therapy for him? How much was “acted” and how much of those feelings flickering across his face were captured moments? There is real beauty here. The horse training sequences are stunning. Magical. And I loved seeing the tenderness and care between Brady and his sister, and Brady and his friends, especially his interactions with Lane Scott. This is a complex and full masculinity on display here. The only time Brady veers off into taking his pain out on someone else, it feels unnatural and out of character for him. 

This is such a relatable story. I think we all find ourselves at points in our lives where certain doors, certain paths seem to be closing to us. These paths aren’t always as bound up in our identities as riding is for Brady, but I think his anxiety and grief resonates. And his determination to overcome those feelings, to forge his path, is inspiring.