The Bikeriders – Movie Review

Witness the birth of Cosplay

What’s it about?

Based on a book of photographs and interviews with the members of an early motorcycle club in 1960s Illinois, our narrator Kathy (Jodie Comer) takes us through the history of the club and its members, namely the club’s leader Johnny (Tom Hardy), and his heir apparent Benny (Austin Butler).

What’d we think?

Peter Linning says:

While the marketing might have you experiencing a tough guy gangster flick or a biopic-style structure, this feels more like a fond memorialisation. Like drunkenly reminiscing about an old friend, the picture is composed of flashes of memories, disconnected vignettes, and snatches of moments between our leads, resulting in a wonderfully crafted (if inconsistent) picture. The downside of this structure is that none of the three leads actually feel like our central character, but the nature of the film means that the incredible supporting cast picks up the slack very effectively. Kathy’s Mid-Western-Karen-Hill narration provides our window into the world of these characters but her perceptiveness is always focused on others, seemingly incapable or unwilling to assess her own behaviour. Her narration provides us most of our insight into the character of Benny, who has very little dialogue of his own and is quite a simple character as written, but is imbued with an almost mythic quality thanks to Kathy’s fawning narration. Johnny is probably the most fleshed-out of the leads, as we see him develop his Club President persona from watching Brando in The Wild One, contrasted with how he sees Benny as the genuine article – he strives to achieve the ideal that Benny effortlessly embodies, and understands what it would mean for the club’s direction to change.

Although there’s a few interesting ideas scattered throughout the movie that aren’t explored enough for my tastes, The Bikeriders is a great-looking ride, and enjoyable from start to finish. The end credits are also a real treat, showcasing some of the beautiful original photography from Danny Lyons’ book that was used for inspiration.


Geena Schwartz says:

This movie made me want to go out and acquire a really tough bike-riding boyfriend who defends my honour. Definitely a character driven movie and perfectly cast. Tom Hardy? Great. Subtleties all in the eyes and a slight crinkle of the mouth. Austin Butler? Great. Tough, rough, and smoking (literally and physically). Jodie Comer? Great. All big eyed, sly smiling and sharp. Loved also seeing favourites like Michael Shannon, Norman Reedus and Mike Faist. I wouldn’t have enjoyed the experience as much as I did, if the ensemble wasn’t as strong as it was.

Overall, a few genuine laughs, a few heart-strings pulled and a peak behind the curtain of a rich (and perhaps misunderstood) chapter in American history.

Go see it to vicariously experience the small moments of connection and intense loyalty.


Pretty good
Destined to become your friend's dad's favourite movie. Definitely worth checking out if you like the history or the lead actors.
A raconteur by nature and motormouth by trade, the only thing Pete loves more than watching movies is a good debate about movies. He'll argue with anyone about anything, and enjoy it more than is socially acceptable.
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