Film Review – Riders of Justice (2020)

Title – Riders of Justice (2020) 

Director – Anders Thomas Jensen (Flickering Lights) 

Cast – Mads Mikkelsen, Nikolaj Lie Kaas, Lars Brygmann, Nicolas Bro

Plot – Army Veteran Markus (Mikkelsen) must return home to Denmark when his wife is killed in a tragic train accident but when a fellow passenger of the train shows up on his doorstep and suggests that the incident may not have been per chance, Markus and a collection of new acquittances set their sights on justice for all.  

“You’re a chubby little salami”

Review by Eddie on 16/09/2021

You heard it here first, Riders of Justice will at some stage become a Hollywood remake, as this Danish mixture of thriller/comedy and a sprinkling of hard drama harbors within it a great story of revenge and intrigue that whilst as it stands doesn’t set the world on fire, makes for a ripe foundation for what could be a genuinely great film. 

Frequent collaborators, director Anders Thomas Jensen and leading man Mads Mikkelsen (once more proving to us why his one of the best working in the business right now) start things off with a bang here as we are introduced to a scenario where Mikkelsen’s army man Markus is rushed back home to care for his teenage daughter when his wife is the victim of what appears to be an unfortunate train accident but when Markus is told by a duo of researchers that claim they know more about the accident and what it may’ve been, Markus is set on course for action against a criminal group that appear to have played a part in the occurrence. 

Filled with various twists and turns, Justice takes us on a journey we are not always prepared for as Markus squads up with Nikolaj Lie Kaas’s deep thinking Otto, Lars Brygmann’s complicated Lennart and Nicolas Bro’s computer wizz Emmenthaler and while at times it appears as though Jensen’s film is headed down a particular pathway or set-up Jensen’s oddball script and bizarre moments keep things fresh for better and for worse as the film finds it tough balancing its various tonal shifts with audience sentiment as we remain often unaware of how we are supposed to be feeling at any given time. 

Dealing with some heavy material that lay at the core of its narrative, Justice could be draining stuff without the moments of lightness it has frequently throughout, often courtesy of Emmenthaler’s unpredictable behavior or Jensen’s witty script but at times you wish it had decided more concretely what film it exactly wanted to be as you can’t help but feel this familiar feeling yet originally constructed set-up had more to give us than what exists as a final product. 

Despite these failings there’s very little doubt that Justice is a well-made and performed film and a rare example of a foreign film that deserves a chance to be remade with hope that all of its elements can combine into one to create something truly special. 

Final Say – 

A unique hybrid of a film, Riders of Justice features yet another top quality Mads Mikkelsen performance and a story that surprises at multiple occasions but its uneven tone and difficulty in making us understand what we should be feeling because of it halts its chances of becoming a must-watch. 

3 thrown out lunches out of 5   

5 responses to “Film Review – Riders of Justice (2020)

    • I loved parts of it mate but felt tonally it was a little off putting in important instances. I am interested to see how the Hollywood version will come out.
      E

  1. “…for better and for worse as the film finds it tough balancing its various tonal shifts with audience sentiment as we remain often unaware of how we are supposed to be feeling at any given time.” — Yep, I felt this observation at several points.

    I loved the humor and that scene towards the end when certain plot and dialogue elements compels the viewer to re-assess previous plot points. So, in the inevitable American remake, who would play the Mads character? Thomas Hardy? Christian Bale? Lou Diamond Phillips?! Angela Bassett. I’m not kidding.

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