Featuring a unique and absurd plot, Riders of Justice is a smart albeit flawed dark comedy. It follows a group of middle-aged men, each with his own set of crippling issues, as they embark on a crazy mission. As most Danish movies, it blends several genres into a potent mix. Similarly, we will be exploring many issues, mostly relating to mental health. How to deal with loss, anger, past trauma, and other fun stuff. The main story, however, remains firmly fixed on determinism and its influence on our view of the world. Much like in Another Round we explored the concept of day drinking. Here we’re examining ye old butterfly effect. However, don’t think this is going to be some overly philosophical movie that will bore you to death with details.
Mostly because Riders of Justice is filled with bizarre and just plain old crazy situations. I don’t want to give them away as they’re one of the main reasons to check out the movie. And there will be gunfights too! Is there anything this movie doesn’t have? Moreover, the shootouts are intense, gripping, and most of all believable. I wish there were more of them because the storytelling starts meandering after the engaging start. Some of the scenes were completely unnecessary and they just slowed the whole movie down. However, just a couple of minutes later you will be laughing at some new crazy development. And after that at completely outrageous and unfiltered dialogue poking fun at everybody. You’ve got bikers, soldiers, scientists, and gay prostitutes all mushed together into a strange, strange movie.
Meet Markus, an emotionally unstable soldier, currently deployed in Afghanistan. He has some anger issues and is having trouble connecting with his daughter and wife. However, after a terrible accident, he’s forced to return home to Denmark. Still trying to process what happened he gets a visit from two somewhat odd guys. They tell him that this wasn’t an accident at all but all part of a much larger conspiracy. So, they recruit another guy and start trying to figure out the truth.
Depending on your familiarity with European and Danish cinema, you might be either blown away or mildly amused by Riders of Justice. This is the fifth Anders Thomas Jensen’s movie starring Mads Mikkelsen and Nikolaj Lie Kaas. They all follow the same formula of mentally disturbed characters trying to accomplish something. Another thing they do is grow on you after each viewing. Here’s our Rabbit Reviews ranking of all Jensen’s movies:
The Green Butchers
Riders of Justice
Men & Chickens
As you might have noticed, Riders of Justice isn’t doing so well on this list. This doesn’t mean it’s a bad movie, nor that Men & Chickens is even worse. It’s just that I think they’ve explored this concept already. What we’re ultimately left with is an absurdity for absurdity’s sake. And while that might be fun in the beginning, it gets a bit tedious in the end. Especially when you consider the sheer amount of skill and talent of this crew. I won’t bother you with performances because you simply know they’re going to be great. Finally, if you’re looking for more great Danish movies check out The Hunt, Festen, and In a Better World. They might not be comedies but they’re damn fine movies.
Director: Anders Thomas Jensen
Writers: Nikolaj Arcel, Anders Thomas Jensen
Cast: Mads Mikkelsen, Nikolaj Lie Kaas, Andrea Heick Gadeberg, Lars Brygmann, Nicolas Bro, Gustav Lindh
Fun Facts: Holds the record for best selling opening weekend in Denmark for 2020.