Riders of Justice (Retfærdighedens Ryttere) (2021)

Image via miff.com.au

A surprisingly wholesome, bloody revenge movie that sees a father’s suppressed rage wreak havoc when he thinks his wife’s death was part of an assassination plot.

The story opens with a young girl asking for a bicycle for Christmas. This small moment sets up a chain of events that leads to Mathilde (Andrea Heick Gadeberg) and her mother making an unplanned train trip. On the same train is Otto (Nikolaj Lie Kaas), a frustrated statistician who believes that enough data can help us understand why accidents happen. When the train crashes and Otto and Mathilde survive, both are convinced there must be more to it than it seems.

Mathilde’s father Markus (Mads Mikkelsen), is forced to return from combat and his ‘stiff upper lip’ strategy does not help his grieving daughter. When Otto tells him of his theories and ropes in awkward friends Lennart (Lars Brygman) and Emmenthaler (Nicolas Bro), they form a misfit gang with plans to bring down crime gang, the Riders of Justice.

There is a fair bit of violence but the film is full of texture and heart, particularly in the interactions between Otto, Lennart and Emmenthaler where we begin to piece together the circumstances that have brought them together. Director Anders Thomas Jensen focuses on the thrill of the chase and the solving of the mystery but also on the journey of Markus as he tries to connect with his life and his daughter. There are some beautiful and poignant moments, not least the ones involving Bodashka (Gustav Lindh).

If you can look past the blood (and Emmenthaler’s filthy language when he can’t get a computer monitor that meets his exacting standards), this is a surprisingly wholesome movie.

Have you seen this film? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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