'Riders Of Justice' Review: Action Comedy Has Mads Mikkelsen & Friends Seeking Answers
Usually when you need to mention that a movie's posters, marketing and stills are terribly misleading, it leads to several negative thoughts in the following writing. With director-writer Anders Thomas Jensen's Riders Of Justice (Retfærdighedens ryttere in Danish), that is only a small gripe limited to a throwaway remark since the surprise turns out to be fascinating.
We're introduced to a father-daughter duo Markus (Mads Mikkelsen) and Mathilde (Andrea Heick Gadeberg) as they suffer a tragic loss of Emma (Anne Birgitte Lind), mother of this family, who dies in a train crash which Mathilde survives. Another survivor, statistician Otto (Nikolaj Lie Kaas) suspects that the crash was a planned attack and not an accident so he and his colleague and friend Lennart (Lars Brygmann) approach Markus, leading them to go on a revenge path. Helping them also are ''tech guy'' Emmenthaler (Nicolas Bro) and sex worker Bodashka (Gustav Lindh).
Instead of a thrilling crime drama that I, like many others presumably, was certainly expecting, the result is an offbeat action comedy which takes bold swings from scene to scene, and from sequence to sequence. Most remarkable thing about Riders Of Justice is the dazzling handling of its tone by Jensen. If 'Parasite' has already made its way to film schools across the world when teaching about blending tones and genres, one must certainly hope that this film gets added to that curriculum too because it's rather staggering that the humour blends into the serious acting and heavy themes so seamlessly. You also often see that the action starts to overshadow everything in these kinds of movies but even those action set pieces are perfectly structured into the composition.
Helping all those elements merge is also the strong ensemble in the centre of it all. Mikkelsen is the one playing it most straight but never in a way that sacrifices the comedic aspects and Bro's Emmenthaler is the comic relief on the paper but the character is never treated as a joke, thankfully. In that vein, we get important moments with everyone in the crew and each of those moments lets us know something specific about that character, like with Lennart or Bodashka who you'd think to be stereotypes otherwise.
The whole revenge plot and couple moments between Markus and Mathilde are where Jensen's story struggles a bit because the ''twists'' were predictable, some tender moments felt undeserved (mainly because what we know about Markus) and while the conclusion is very symmetrical, it isn't very rewarding. Much of that won't bother you for long though because it's easy to enjoy this ride of justice, thanks to the attitude and acting.
Smileys: Tone, performance by a cast
Frowneys: Minor issues with story
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