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Film Review: “Riders of Justice” (2021)


Lars Brygmann, Andrea Heick Gadeberg, Mads Mikkelsen, Nikolaj Lie Kaas, Nicolas Bro in RIDERS OF JUSTICE. Photo by Anders Overgaard. Courtesy of Mongrel Media

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

How many times have you found yourself asking, “What would happen to me if I had missed the bus, stayed home, or failed to get the dream job?” We can try to replay the same scene from our life-defining moment and never end up with a definitive answer. Maybe because there is none. Or maybe there is one, we’re just yet to find the right equation for the mathematical dilemma.

“Riders of Justice” follows a heartbroken man, Markus (Mads Mikkelsen) who is forced to leave his military duty behind due to the death of his wife. After his return, he struggles to console his daughter Mathilde (Andrea Heick Gadeberg), who mouths the loss of her mother in her own way. Both absolutely devastated, they take different paths. While Mathilde tries to recreate the possible chain of events that led to the tragic event, her father teams up with Otto (Nikolaj Lie Laws), who claims has an asset regarding what happened that took Markus’ wife’s life.

Anders Thomas Jensen’s “Riders of Justice” is about men who follow their gut, use mathematical calculations to try and predict how could a cargo train come head to head with a passenger one to claim so many lives. It’s mostly about predictability and how probable was a certain event to take place. For instance, Otto, along with his two oddball friends (Nicolas Bro and Lars Brygmann), geniuses in their own right, think they know who’s behind the catastrophic events. But the beauty of this story, no matter how sad and tragic it is, is the possibility of what if all this was just an odd and bizarre coincidence? What if nobody killed anybody? There was no conspiracy, absolutely nothing?

“Riders of Justice” explores a complex situation; goes deep into the analysis of probability, forcing its main character to test their own limits, because he prefers to follow what strangers told him rather than concentrating on his grief instead. Indeed, there is no right or wrong. But there are plenty of bad guys the world would be a better place without them. Of what Mikkelsen’s Markus takes care of. But does he eliminate the right players? Is his action justifiable?  We don’t know. We will at some point. But the most important question asked throughout the film, “What did we do to you?”, will define the entire picture painting it in a highly contrasting way for you to trigger a conversation long after the credits roll to black.

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