Riders of Justice: Film Review

Riders of Justice

Credit: ROLF KONOW

Mads Mikkelsen is on a phenomenal streak this year – first off, we had the incredible Another Round and now he’s followed it up with the terrific Riders of Justice.

In this Danish crime drama, written and directed by Anders Thomas Jensen, Mikkelsen plays Markus, a soldier who is called home after his wife is killed in a train accident. Otto (Nikolaj Lie Kaas) – a probability expert who is developing an algorithm to determine the likelihood of any event – was also on the train and becomes convinced that it was no accident as there were too many coincidences – a suspicious man onboard, a defected gang member being among the victims. He brings this theory to Markus (whose daughter survived the crash) and he decides to get revenge on the people responsible for his wife’s death.

This isn’t your run-of-the-mill revenge thriller, oh no. This is smart, funny and has a lot of heart, and the character dynamics make it special. When Markus makes his revenge plot, he asks Otto and his hacker friends – Lennart (Lars Brygmann) and Emmenthaler (Nicolas Bro) – to gather intelligence on the gang members he’s planning to kill and they use Markus’ home as a base and basically become like a family, having dinners and breakfast together, with Markus’ daughter Mathilde (Andrea Heick Gadeburg) not knowing the real reason why they’re there.

Mikkelsen gives a fantastic performance (no surprises there). Markus is stoic, insular and fearsome and throws himself into the revenge plot to avoid confronting his grief. He doesn’t speak much but says so much with his eyes – you can tell he is simmering with rage beneath the surface. He is the complete opposite of the other men, who are nerdy, chatty and non-violent. Lennart and Emmenthaler are hilarious and cracked me up the most, while Gadeburg really grounds the whole piece.

The screenplay is very well written, the characters are clearly defined and each bring something different to the table. It successfully combines violent and thrilling action, hilarious moments of dialogue and line delivery, and some sad, heartfelt elements. I enjoyed it from start to finish and I can’t recommend it highly enough.

In cinemas from Friday 23rd July

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

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