film reel image

film reel image

Tuesday, June 25, 2024

The Bikeriders 2023 * * Stars


2023's The Bikeriders is one of those down-and-dirty movies. I mean the musty smell of a bar, the scented drag of a ciggy, and the gasoline intake from a large chopper cloak you as you walk out of the theater. The pseudo true story of "Bikeriders", well it's about the lives of a motorcycle club called the Vandals and what went down with them from 1965 to 1973. The setting is Middle America, the inspiration akin to '53's The Wild One. "This is our family forever." Oh fo-sho.

So yeah, "Bikeriders" doesn't have much of a story arc just as Goodfellas didn't have much of a story arc (critics have been comparing the two films lately). Goodfellas, well it hits you a little harder and resonates more from an emotive, Mob standpoint. The Bikeriders, well it's paltry and bare bones, never having a true reason for being while never creating any memorable and/or likable characters. I mean sure star Austin Butler has a smoldering screen presence and sure, co-star Tom Hardy disappears into his role like vapor. But come on now, these guys just ride bikes, peel off, grunt, and act stout, never making The Bikeriders more than merely trivial stuff. De Niro and Ray Liotta they surely ain't. 

Scorsese earthy crime dramas begot, "Bikeriders" is based on a book of the same name and helmed by a guy known for ditching the funny (Arkansas native Jeff Nichols). Nichols, well his direction is more style here than anything else. I mean he knows where to put the camera, his sense of time and place is rich, and his actors are loyal to him (just ask Michael Shannon). But with The Bikeriders, he mostly missteps, giving the audience member a rinse, repeat of grubby men smoking, drinking, knifing, getting into sudden bursts of graphic violence, and occasionally burning rubber on their Harleys (I stress the word occasionally). Yup, it just goes on and on with no end in sight, as the thin diegesis of "Bikeriders" runs out of propane wiggle room real fast. Free "rider" problem.

Written by Jesse Burleson

No comments:

Post a Comment