When your born in the middle of nowhere in South Dakota, where there is nothing but plains, cold, horses and cattle your life options are very limited. You’re probably going to be poor and working on a farm, or training horses or riding dangerous animals in a Rodeo bucking bronco contests hoping you don’t get kicked in the head and become brain damaged for life. This is the story of “The Rider” about a young man who is kicked in the head by a horse in a Rodeo and his life after the accident. Obviously these are all not very good life options, but when your are born and live in the middle of nowhere and live in a trailer with no money, what are your alternatives? As I have said in this blog before with other films I have reviewed, “you’re going along for the ride”. We are all the products of our parents, our DNA and where we are born.

Very unusual for this movie is that the characters are fictional but the actors in “The Rider” are the actual people who lived through the real events in this story. One of the actors is Lilly Jandreau who is the mentally disabled sister of Brady Jandreau who was brain damaged in the Rodeo accident. The main character Brady Blackburn, played by Brady Jandreau does not have severe brain damage and despite his severe injury throughout most of this film, seems to be able to function normally. Another actor in this film was not as lucky and his brain damage was severe and some of the most depressing scenes in this movie involve his struggles in the hospital while Brady visited him.

The ratings for this movie are very high 97% on Rotten Tomatoes, but my rating for this movie is more in the 70% range, mainly because the film dragged too long in several areas and I thought there was enough of a story to tell. The huge vistas of South Dakota were impressively filmed, providing one good reason to see this movie. I thought this was a very simple story, very well told, but due to the other problems, I give The Rider only a marginal recommendation.

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