The Bikeriders

Tagline : Legacies dont come easy.

Runtime : 116 mins

Genre : Crime Drama

Vote Rating : 7.3/10

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Plot : After a chance encounter, headstrong Kathy is drawn to Benny, member of Midwestern motorcycle club the Vandals. As the club transforms into a dangerous underworld of violence, Benny must choose between Kathy and his loyalty to the club.

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Danny (Mike Faist) is a would-be journalist who is interviewing Kathy (Jodie Comer) who is married to Benny (Austin Butler) who is a member of the "Valdals". They are a motor cycle club run by Johnny (Tom Hardy) with an almost masonic approach to looking out for each other. She takes us back to how they met, and of her nervousness about mixing with this outwardly aggressive fraternity, but as she gets to know them and they her, she begins to understand they are no threat, and that in many ways are all the family the others will have/need. As time moves on, though, the "Vandals" become a victim of their own success and a proliferation of chapels emerges, introducing a younger more venal and violent element to challenge the existing status quo. Using the stresses and strains of their relationship as a bedrock for the chronology, we follow the ups and downs of this disparate gang and their leader. Sadly, this isn't really a film that catches fire. It's based on real characters, and upon the book written by Danny Lyon, but "The Wild One" (1953) it isn't. It's often as if we are just a small fly on the wall observing their day to day routines and dependencies, but we never really get to know the characters. Comer does fine, but she really serves as little better than the narrator rather than an impassioned character increasingly concerned for her husband's wellbeing. There's also precious little dialogue from either Butler or Hardy and the rigid structure of the drama makes it quite hard to empathise with any of them, really. There is also a dearth of action here. For all the bikes, leather and testosterone we are left with just one or two scenes that raise the pulse a little - and they have been well exploited already in the trailing for the film. It's a good looking film but after all the hype, I was a bit disappointed with it's shallowness.

It’s a bit light on story, but ‘The Bikeriders’ is a film I enjoyed. The stellar cast list is probably the main reason, because everyone onscreen do great work. Austin Butler and Jodie Comer are the obvious standouts as leads, both are good value throughout; even if the latter’s accent is slightly grating at a few moments. Tom Hardy is, as always, terrific too, while it was awesome to see Norman Reedus appear. As noted, I do think there’s just barely enough there for a movie - it is a plot that is stretched as far as it could possibly be. It is all shot well and all that, the bikes look and sound ace. I also like how the film wraps up. All in all, it’s very good and most certainly worth a watch.

The Bikeriders presents an interesting Shakespearean kind of tale, depicting the story of 'The Vandals' Motorcycle Club. The narrative captures the essence of motorcycle club culture, showcasing moments that resonate as authentic and familiar. Each scene featuring the club members is compelling, particularly those with Tom Hardy's Johnny and Austin Butler's Benny, whose performances are truly fantastic. Tom Hardy and Austin Butler deliver standout performances that elevate the film. Hardy brings a raw intensity to Johnny, capturing the character's complexity and inner turmoil. For instance, scenes where Johnny grapples with leadership decisions reveal Hardy's ability to convey vulnerability beneath a tough exterior. Butler, on the other hand, exudes charisma as Benny, making his character's journey both engaging and poignant. His chemistry with Hardy is palpable, adding depth to their on-screen relationship. However, Jodie Comer's character, Kathy, poses some challenges. While Comer’s acting is solid, the direction and certain choices surrounding her character are problematic. Kathy’s accent is particularly distracting, detracting from the immersion of her scenes. This is less noticeable during her interactions with the club members but becomes glaringly obvious in scenes where she talks to the photographer documenting the club. These segments, intended to provide narrative bridges or twists, feel awkwardly inserted and disrupt the flow of the story. The decision to have Kathy narrate the story while speaking to the reporter, who is based on the real-life author of the book the film is adapted from, feels misplaced. It might have been more effective to narrate from the reporter's perspective or tell the story in a straightforward manner. For example, a linear narrative would have maintained continuity and made the time jumps less jarring. The disjointed structure often breaks the momentum, making it difficult to stay fully engaged with the plot. Despite these issues, the core story of The Bikeriders remains compelling. The film captures the camaraderie, conflict, and emotional highs and lows of life within a motorcycle club. The writing, though disjointed due to the non-linear timeline, still conveys the drama and intensity of the characters' lives. A more linear approach could have enhanced the storytelling, providing a clearer and more cohesive narrative arc. Overall, The Bikeriders is a film with a lot of potential, highlighted by outstanding performances from Tom Hardy and Austin Butler. Their portrayal of Johnny and Benny injects the film with energy and emotional depth. However, the film is hampered by narrative choices and distracting elements, such as Kathy’s accent and the fragmented timeline. While these issues don't entirely diminish the story's impact, they do detract from the overall experience. The film is worth watching for its strong character portrayals and the authentic depiction of motorcycle club culture, but it could have been more powerful with a more straightforward narrative approach.

When I first saw the media for this show, I wondered why they were remaking Outsiders. Ponyboy is more of a stone cold killer in this. Nostalgia...for a better time! When men could just hang out with men, wear leather, drink beer, do meth, rape women...technically not rape as the women consented by hanging out with the men, and ride bikes. Simpler times. This is the world of Bikeriders. Classic America. It's well done. Acted. Good to see Michael Shannon. I enjoyed it but I don't know if I recommend it. Seems pointless. Maybe: Accept and don't be mean to the youth else they'll murder you when they take over. Bikes are cool.

“The Bikeriders” offers a gritty and atmospheric portrayal of a Midwestern motorcycle club’s transformation over a decade, capturing both the allure and peril of a subculture defined by rebellion and camaraderie. Written and directed by Jeff Nichols, the film delves into themes of loyalty, brotherhood, and the evolution of identity amidst a changing America, and features terrific performances from Jodie Comer, Austin Butler, and Tom Hardy. While not a true story, the movie is inspired by a 1963 photo essay and book by Danny Lyon, a photographer who spent time with the Chicago Outlaws riding club in an effort to document the life and times of the American biker. Nichols creates a fictional world inspired by a culture that was a very real part of the Sixties. Set against the backdrop of a tumultuous era in American history, the film introduces bad boy Benny (Butler), a newcomer to a local motorcycle club called the Vandals. Led by the enigmatic Johnny (Hardy), the club initially serves as a sanctuary for misfits and outsiders seeking a sense of belonging in a world that seems to have left them behind. In other words, Benny fits right in. Most of the narrative revolves around his complex relationship with the strong-willed Kathy (Comer) and the tug of war that ensures between Benny’s allegiance to the club and his feelings for his old lady. It’s a story of love, loyalty, identity, and brotherhood that’s filled with power struggles and eventual violence, and Nichols captures the heart of his narrative as the club and its members undergo a transformation that spans roughly a decade. The evolution of the characters can sometimes feel a little too predictable, but Nichols captures the spirit of the time with a sometimes-subtle (and sometimes not) exploration of the motorcycle club subculture and its various intricacies and complications. One of the more surprising things I liked about this film is how it romanticizes masculinity in a way that’s reminiscent of classic Hollywood. Benny is a Brando type, with a rugged individualism that’s more muted than overpowered with a showy bravado. These are rugged, tough men, who abide by an unspoken code of brotherhood. It not only makes the characters more appealing, but it also adds to the authenticity. Nichols visually captures the essence of his film’s setting too, immersing viewers in a world where leather-clad riders navigate the open road despite the turbulent dynamics within their own ranks. The production design and cinematography are a perfect fit, both working in tandem to enhance the gritty realism of the biker world and the allure of rebellion. Anchored by solid performances and a nostalgic portrayal of American masculinity, “The Bikeriders” gives an effective and entertaining look at motorcycle culture. By: Louisa Moore / SCREEN ZEALOTS

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