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Film set on Pine Ridge Reservation already called one of the year's best



The Rider, a film set on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, is garnering highly favorable news coverage and reviews.

The film focuses on a Lakota cowboy who suffers a serious injury at a rodeo. The story is based on the real Brady Jandreau, a citizen of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe who was thrown off his horse in 2016, fell into a coma for three days and was told never to ride again.

But Jandreau, who lives at Pine Ridge, got back to riding as soon as possible.

“I was only kept alive because I’m human and that’s not enough. I’m useless if I can't do what I was born to do,” the 22-year-old Jandreau says in press materials for the film.

Brady Jandreau as Brady Blackburn in The Rider. Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

Jandreau portrays Brady Blackburn in the film. His father and sister, Tim and Lilly, are also in it, playing his father and sister.

“Through Brady’s journey, both on and off screen, I hope to explore our culture of masculinity and to offer a more nuanced version of the classic American cowboy,” director Chloé Zhao says in the press materials. “I also want to offer an authentic portrait of the rough, honest and beautiful American heartland that I deeply love and respect.”

The Sony Pictures Classic film, which opens in select theaters on Friday, is already being called one of the year's best. "The Rider is a powerful, confident work that blends fact and fiction to create an authentic portrait of life in South Dakota’s Sioux community," David Sims writes in The Atlantic.

"There is struggle and disappointment in Brady’s life, but rather than pin him and the other characters down in a tableau of misery, Ms. Zhao honors their essential freedom and understands what is important to them," A.O. Scott writes in The New York Times.


Zhao's first production was Songs My Brothers Taught Me from 2015. Like The Rider, it was set and filmed at Pine Ridge and also featured local talent.

The Rider is due for wider release in the coming weeks.

Read More on the Story:
Cowboy makes comeback after horrific rodeo accident (The New York Post April 11, 2018)
A Devastating Fall Couldn't Keep This Rodeo 'Rider' Off Wild Horses (National Public Radio April 11, 2018)
In Chloe Zhao’s ‘The Rider,’ a rodeo cowboy plays himself (The Associated Press April 11, 2018)

Some Reviews
Davis Sims: The Rider Is the Best Film of 2018 So Far (The Atlantic April 11, 2018)
A. O. Scott: Review: ‘The Rider’ Is an American Regional Film to Savor (The New York Times April 11, 2018)
Inkoo Kang: The Rider Explores Daredevil Masculinity Through the Rodeo (Slate April 11, 2018)
Justin Chang: Chloé Zhao's cowboy drama 'The Rider' is a moving, lyrical tale of loss and recovery (The Los Angeles Times April 10, 2018)

Related Stories:
Native Sun News: Pine Ridge actors make a splash with new film (May 29, 2015)
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