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Sunday, July 14, 2024

Movies with Tarek – ‘The Bikeriders’


Motorcycles are dangerous. Motorcycles form a gang. Does it have a beneficial factor? The Bikeriders go down a road of a blur along this aspect.

Written and directed by Jeff Nichols, The Bikeriders feels like a mafia atmosphere. The only difference is that it is a gang that rides motorcycles. This direction is based on the 1967 photography book (the book carries the same name as the film) by Danny Lyon. That is where the fascination for the film came from. That would explain why the film feels more like a surreal journey than a biopic. It contains more along the lines of personality dangers over motorcycle adventures. That approach is where the line is blurred.

Austin Butler plays Benny. Benny loves to ride his motorcycle into paradise like a king. He also loves his wife, Kathy (played by Jodie Comer). Benny has loyalty. His mentor is Johnny (played by Tom Hardy). Johnny is the king of the motorcycle crew. They call themselves the Vandals. As Benny goes deeper, Kathy feels there are more detrimental aspects to come around in her life. With Benny always being in love with his motorcycles and the crew, how good of an influence is Johnny? The actions of Benny have consequences, and it does so for Kathy as well. If Benny cannot ride, he will feel incomplete. Is that a road that Kathy wants to go down with Benny?

The tension is there, but the presentation is mediocre. The film transitions to Kathy telling a story with a journalist throughout the film. She goes into detail about the activities she took part in with Benny. She talks about how the gang has had its share of crazy scenarios. This approach delivers an appreciation of the emphasis of the film. Its delivery feels like a sob story direction.

Being on a motorcycle is what makes Benny feel like he is truly alive. Having Johnny by his side is that layer that keeps him going. He disregards his actions just for Johnny repeatedly. When it comes to the subject of love, it seems Benny cares more about anything to do with motorcycles than Kathy alone.

The Bikeriders is a powerhouse dynamic with superb scenery. Its artistry with motorcycles and its focus on the Midwest carries weight in the film’s continuity. It just does not fulfill the spectacular expectations that some audiences may expect.

Two-and-a-half out of four stars.

Tarek Fayoumi
Tarek Fayoumihttp://movieswithtarek.com
Tarek Fayoumi is the creator and lead critic of movieswithtarek.com. He also contributes to Medium.com, is an approved critic of Bananameter, and a member of the Chicago Indie Critics (CIC) and Independent Film Critics of America.