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Riders of Justice a rather frustrating viewing experience, despite solid performances and at least one original, touching subplot.

There are quite a few scenes in Riders of Justice, the latest offbeat film by Danish writer-director Anders Thomas Jensen, that surprise you, entertain you and even make a genuine emotional connection. But they never coalesce into a tonally coherent movie, making large chunks of Riders of Justice a rather frustrating viewing experience.

The picture works best when the leading men, a bunch of fringe outliers brought together by a perhaps not quite coincidental train crash, take over the mothering role for a teenage girl who lost her mom in the accident, thanks to solid performances by the entire cast and the film's most touching subplot, one involving a sex-trafficked young guy.

Riders of Justice is less successful as a revenge tale however, as the intermittent extreme violence clashes uneasily with the movie's at times goofball sensibility and its attempts to layer the characters.

I might have liked the film better had Jensen interwoven the overarching theme of chance and predetermination more consistently into the main narrative (and its bookends) but even with that flaw the film's entertainment value is definitely above average.

release: 2020

director: Anders Thomas Jensen

starring: Mads Mikkelsen, Nikolaj Lie Kaas, Lars Brygmann, Andrea Heick Gadeberg


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