The Bikeriders Movie Review

One of the phenomenons that rose out of post-World War Two male life was the creation of clubs to channel the male energy that was created after the return of the troops to home soil. Building Hot Rods and racing them was one such occurrence as was the creation of motorcycle clubs. Their structure helped to mimic the missing sense of camaraderie and they also provided an outlet for misspent energies.

Many say that this was also the perfect storm that helped to reinforce the toxic male energy that has blighted our society in the decades since. While this may be an oversimplification, it has had an undeniable impact on male behaviour since. As in all things that are created in an environment of excess energies, these clubs even though they started with the best of intentions became corrupted and changed to suit certain individual needs or desires.



In this context, the allure of criminality doesn’t seem so far-fetched and nowhere was this better exemplified than in biker clubs. The Bikeriders tells the tale of one such club that started simply but eventually ran completely off the rails. The key performances in the film by Austin Butler and Tom Hardy are underplayed to the point of narcolepsy and seem an attempt by the filmmakers not to fall guilty of ramping things up to the soap opera level of shows like The Sons Of Anarchy.

Driven by actor Jodie Comer’s narration (one that could rival Frances McDormand’s vocal heroics in Fargo), what starts as a brotherhood is doomed to be consumed by vice and greed. The level of understatement used to tell the tale makes the violence pop but leaves the audience under-informed as the almost complete lack of back story hinders true understanding. Historical context helps but it all falls short of providing the jolt needed to make this work a transformative experience.
Rob Hudson