Riders of Justice

Riders of Justice
Running time:116 minutes
Director:Anders Thomas Jensen
Release date:00 0000

Mulder's Review

Danish cinema has often allowed the emergence of great directors like Bille August, Thomas Vinterbeg, Susanne Blier, Lars Von Trier and actors like Mads Mikkelsen , Connie Nielsen and Sidse Babett Knudsen. The fifth film of Anders Thomas Jensen makes him automatically in this list of directors to follow as he manages to reinvent the revenge and self-defense film by injecting a good dose of humor but also bringing a real research on the psychology of the characters.

Far from being a simple traditional action movie like the American studios tend to pour into our theaters every year, Anders Thomas Jensen's script constantly seeks to surprise the audience. Far from resorting to artificial and too easy mechanics seen and reviewed in many films, Riders of Justice (Retfærdighedens Ryttere) easily and proudly claims its way to mix with a real success atypical characters with a rather accurate look against dangerous militias that some countries can neither control nor make disappear.

Markus (Mads Mikkelsen), recently deployed to Afghanistan, is forced to return home to care for his teenage daughter after his wife is killed in a tragic train accident. When a survivor of the crashed train, Otto (Nikolaj Lie Kaas), a statistician, who has just been fired, surfaces and claims foul play, Markus begins to suspect that his wife was collateral damage to a terrorist crime and embarks on a mission of revenge to find the perpetrators along with Otto and his two collaborators Emmenthaler (Nicolas Bro), a gifted hacker, and Lennart (Lars Brygmann), an IT specialist.

Released last November in Denmark, the director and screenwriter Anders Thomas Jensen finds for his fifth film and fifth time his favorite actor the excellent Mads Mikkelsen. So after Dancing Lights (Blinkende lygter) (2000), The Green Butchers (De grønne slagtere) (2003), Adam's Apples (Adams Æbler) (2005) and more recently Men and Chicken (Mænd og høns) (2015), Anders Thomas Jensen delivers here simply his best film and proves to be quite talented to stage a real disturbing atmosphere in which danger is omnipresent but also to realize spectacular action scenes in which we find the gifted Mads Mikkelsen.

Far from venturing on the same ground as a film like those of the cinematographic saga Death Wish with Charles Bronson, or the other saga John Wick see recently the cult Nobody (whose release in France is expected in the coming months), Riders of Justice (Retfærdighedens Ryttere) is oriented towards a film much more human and realistic while being more touching and poignant. By exploring the themes of friendship, mourning and trauma of this band gathered against their will to fight against a dangerous militia, this film cleverly renews the simple film of self-defense. Skillfully handling mathematics, black humor and a bewitching and original atmosphere, Riders of Justice (Retfærdighedens Ryttere) imposes itself as soon as it is discovered as an excellent film and shows that Danish cinema is able to compete with Hollywood studios on their own ground.

It is easy to understand that this polymorphous actor is as comfortable in intimate scenes as in some that make his thirst for revenge explode, even if he has to face a whole militia of people as dangerous as having no moral mode. While Mads Mikkelsen has found the right balance in Danish films but also in blockbusters (King Arthur (2004), Casino Royale (2006), Clash of the Titans (2010), Doctor Strange (2016), Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016), Polar (2019) and upcoming Fantastic Beasts 3 (2022) and Indiana Jones 5 (2022)), he delivers one of his best performances here as a soldier who seems to advocate violence to achieve his goal and is willing to seek revenge and defend his daughter at all costs.

Riders of Justice (Retfærdighedens Ryttere)
Written and directed by Anders Thomas Jensen
Produced by Sidsel Hybschmann, Sisse Graum Jørgensen
Starring Mads Mikkelsen, Nikolaj Lie Kaas, Andrea Heick Gadeberg, Lars Brygmann, Nicolas Bro
Music by Jeppe Kaas
Cinematography : Kasper Tuxen
Edited by Anders Albjerg Kristiansen, Nicolaj Monberg
Productions company : Zentropa Entertainments
Distributed by Nordisk Film (Denmark)
Release date : November 19, 2020 (Denmark), May 14, 2021 (USA)
Running time : 116 minutes

Seen on April 09, 2021

Mulder's Mark: