The Bikeriders, a drama written and directed by Jeff Nichols, kicked off the 50th Telluride Film Festival with its annual Patron’s Preview screening. The film, which is set for a December 1 theatrical release from 20th Century Studios (aka Disney), is a $40 million adaptation of Danny Lyon’s 1968 book of the same name. It tells the story of a Chicago biker “club” and its rise and fall between the years of 1965 and 1973.
At the center of the narrative is the love story between the protagonist, played by Austin Butler, and his love interest, portrayed by Jodie Comer. Comer’s character becomes involved with the biker group and its leader, played by Tom Hardy, while maintaining her commitment to her relationship with Butler’s character. The film explores their intertwined lives and the challenges they face as part of the biker community.
The Bikeriders is a well-crafted period piece that captures the essence of the era it portrays. It shares similarities with David Chase’s cinematic ventures, such as 2012’s Not Fade Away and 2021’s The Many Saints of Newark, which also delve into the world of strong male groups and their dynamics. The film utilizes in-your-face accents and showcases moments of violence, with the biker community forming a tight-knit “family.” It is through this lens that the story unfolds.
While The Bikeriders boasts a solid ensemble cast of male actors, it is Jodie Comer’s performance that stands out. Comer, known for her role in Killing Eve, delivers a transformative performance that is a complete departure from her previous work. Sounding like Mike Ditka and looking nothing like her Killing Eve character, Comer immerses herself in the role. To add to her already impressive resume, she recently won a Tony award for her performance in the one-woman show Prima Facie and was a contender for an Oscar nomination two years ago for her role in The Last Duel. Comer’s portrayal in The Bikeriders solidifies her range and talent as an actress.
While the male characters in the film largely embody the strong, silent archetype reminiscent of Marlon Brando in The Wild One, it is Comer’s character who brings heart to the story. She adds depth and emotional resonance to the narrative, elevating the overall impact of the film.
In terms of awards prospects, Comer’s performance shines as a potential contender. Her portrayal in The Bikeriders showcases her versatility and ability to immerse herself in a role. It is not surprising to consider that she may receive nominations in either the leading or supporting actress category. Her transformation and commitment to the character make her a standout in the film.
Overall, The Bikeriders is a captivating drama that transports audiences to a specific time and place in history. With its well-crafted storytelling, engaging performances, and attention to detail, it deserves recognition as a notable film. Jeff Nichols continues to demonstrate his talent as a filmmaker, and The Bikeriders serves as another testament to his ability to craft compelling narratives. As the film makes its way to theaters, it will undoubtedly captivate audiences with its portrayal of love, loyalty, and the biker culture of the 1960s and 1970s.