‘The Bikeriders’ is a Good Old-Fashioned Adult Summer Drama (Review)

by | Jun 20, 2024


Director Jeff Nichols is back after a eight-year hiatus with another smooth-riding film.

It’s always refreshing to see films outside the typical blockbuster and family affair during this time of the year. Not that we don’t enjoy going to see those types of films throughout the hottest season, but it’s always refreshing as a glass of lemonade to see something else outside the norms. So, when a film that has Jeff Nichols returning to the director’s chair, a cast of notable names and up-and-comers, and a story that harkens back to a Golden Age drops into theaters now, you take notice. And as you might suspect, The Bikeriders is every bit as “cool” as you could imagine thanks to these components.

Taking place over a span of almost a decade, The Bikeriders follows follows a photojournalist (Mike Faist) interviewing various members of a motorcycle club throughout the 1960s. While one of the biker’s wives (Jodie Comer) recounts most of the rise and fall of the club, we get an insight into all the characters of the club, who can only be described as a group of misfits that society initially had rejected.

Jeff Nichols always has been one of Hollywood’s most underrated filmmakers, thanks to his character-driven stories (Midnight Special, Mud, Take Shelter). So, it’s somewhat surprising that it has taken him this long to make a film that is this commercially appealing that showcases his direction and his ability to get the most out of his actors for the story they’re given to play out. Maybe that’s by design, given the films he’s chosen to make over the years. But regardless, Nichols should be a name that studios consider with high-priority projects given how he tells The Bikeriders, where an abundance of recognizable actors understood the assignment and the director nails this era of bike riding that feels almost lost in today’s day and age.

Even though Jodie Comer’s character is not a bike rider, she is the main star of the film thanks to recounting what happened to the club. And while her accent in the film is slightly off putting, there’s no denying she holds her own among this sizable cast and continues to show promise post-Killing Eve. Like Comer’s accent, Tom Hardy also has one that’s not as objectionable , but is a bit noticeable. Regardless, you can see why Nichols cast him as the leader of the motorcycle club here. And while you might recognize some people that are all good, such as Michael Shannon (Man of Steel), Mike Faist (Challengers), Boyd Holbrook (Narcos), Damon Harriman (Justified), and especially Norman Reedus (The Walking Dead), there’s one who stands out above them all in his continued rise to stardom: Austin Butler. As the poster child for this film, it’s easy to see why Butler has continued to rise from Elvis to spring’s Dune: Part Two and now The Bikeriders – the young gun is more than just a good-looking guy. He’s a damn good actor.

A film of this stature is typically something we might see in the fall for potential in awards consideration. However, it’s easy to see why this film was taken off the calendar last fall and released this summer under a new studio. The Bikeriders is not exactly an awards worthy film; however, it’s the type of adult drama we crave during this time of the year. It’s a cool film featuring cool actors about an era that we wish we could venture into to see what it felt like to be one of these people. If you see The Bikeriders, you might wish you could leave the theater wearing a pair of aviators on while you cruise down the road on a bike wishing people were watching you as you drove by.

RATING: ★★★★

(out of five stars)