Home Films, Theatre & TVFilm Reviews The Bikeriders Film Review: Jodie Comer Commands the Screen Through A Journey of Rebellion and Loyalty

The Bikeriders Film Review: Jodie Comer Commands the Screen Through A Journey of Rebellion and Loyalty

by Jonathan Currinn
9 minutes read Send a Virtual Coffee ☕

Jeff Nichols’ latest film, The Bikeriders, delves into the gritty world of 1960s motorcycle clubs, offering a poignant narrative inspired by Danny Lyon’s photographic book of the same name. With a star-studded cast featuring Jodie Comer, Austin Butler, and Tom Hardy, the film explores themes of rebellion, loyalty, and the changing cultural landscape of America.

The story unfolds through the eyes of Kathy (Jodie Comer), who recounts her life with the Midwestern motorcycle club, the Vandals, during a documentary-style interview. Kathy’s journey begins with a chance encounter at a local bar, where she meets Benny (Austin Butler), the newest and most enigmatic member of the Vandals. Captivated by Benny’s rebellious spirit and undeniable charm, Kathy becomes involved with the club, on the sidelines of everything, as Benny’s wife.

Austin Butler playing Billy as he rides his motorcycle on the open road, joyfully screaming with adrenaline.

As Kathy and Benny’s relationship evolves, so does the motorcycle club. Under the leadership of Johnny (Tom Hardy), the Vandals transform from a group of local outcasts seeking freedom and brotherhood into a notorious gang entangled in violence and crime. The club’s growth brings both opportunities and challenges, as new members join and tensions rise between the older and the younger generations— the latter going on to become more reckless recruits.

Benny finds himself at a crossroads, torn between his devotion to Kathy and his loyalty to Johnny and the club—not to mention his love of riding his motorcycle. The dynamics within the Vandals become increasingly complex, with Johnny seeing Benny as a potential successor while Kathy struggles to maintain a semblance of normalcy amidst the chaos. The film delves into the inner workings of the club, showcasing the camaraderie, conflicts, and harsh realities of life on the fringes of society.

Austin Butler and Jodie Comer as Billy and Kathy, cuddled up together with Billy's arm around her shoulders while he smokes a cigarette.

The film’s cinematography by Adam Stone captures the raw, unfiltered essence of the era, while David Wingo’s music score brings the emotional depth of the characters’ journeys. Julie Monroe’s editing seamlessly weaves together the past and present, creating a narrative that is both compelling and reflective. This all combines into a perfectly paced movie that captures and hooks the viewers from the very start.

Jodie Comer, best known for her role as Villanelle in Killing Eve—and also acclaimed for her performances in Free Guy, My Mad Fat Diary, and the West End & Broadway play Prima Facie—delivers a remarkable performance as Kathy, a role that serves as the film’s emotional and narrative anchor. Told primarily from her perspective through iconic documentary-style interviews, Comer’s portrayal is both heartwarming and heartbreaking. Her adept handling of a Midwestern accent and her nuanced depiction of a woman deeply in love yet acutely aware of the dangers surrounding her husband adds depth to her character. Kathy’s recollections of her time with the Vandals provide a poignant and personal insight into the world of the bikeriders.

Tom Hardy and Austin Butler as Johnny and Billy, sitting on some grass in front of their motorcycles.

Austin Butler, fresh off his success in Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis—and also known for The Shannara Chronicles, The Carrie Diaries, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Dune: Part Two, and Masters of the Air—brings a magnetic presence to Benny. His portrayal of a trouble-prone yet stylish and enigmatic biker captures the audience’s attention, making his internal conflict and loyalty dilemmas all the more compelling. Benny’s cool demeanour and underlying vulnerability are portrayed with a subtlety that showcases Butler’s range as an actor.

Tom Hardy, perhaps best-known recently for Venom—as well as his roles in Peaky Blinders, Dunkirk, Inception, This Means War, and The Dark Knight Rises—plays Johnny, embodying the complex leader of the Vandals with his characteristic intensity. Hardy’s performance brings two sides to the club leader, the family-oriented man who works for a living contrasted with this hard-edged biker attitude who is clever enough to lead but not quite tough enough to be the head of a gang—this adds a layer of unpredictability to his character. Johnny’s existential crisis and his journey from an inspired biker to a disillusioned leader are portrayed with a raw authenticity that anchors the film’s narrative arc.

Official cinema landscape poster for The Bikeriders that sees the official photo of Tom Hardy, Austin Butler, and Jodie Comer with the row of motorcyclists riding, surrounded by a cream boarder and announcing the star ratings from magazines.

In addition to the central trio, the supporting cast of The Bikeriders, including Michael Shannon (The Flash, The Shape of Water) as Zipco and Norman Reedus (The Walking Dead, Blade II, The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon) as Funny Sonny, adds depth to the narrative, each character contributing to the rich tapestry of the Vandals’ world. The interactions and relationships among the club members provide a multifaceted view of their lives, emphasising the bonds and betrayals that define their existence.

Mike Faist, known for his breakout roles in West Side Story and Challengers, plays Danny, a photojournalist whose interviews frame the narrative. Inspired by Danny Lyon’s book “The Bikeriders”, Faist’s character mirrors Lyon’s real-life role in documenting the Outlaws motorcycle club, which inspired the fictional Vandals. Danny, like Kathy, remains on the outskirts, observing and capturing the essence of the club. His skillfully conducted interviews guide members to share their stories, creating a seamless and compelling narrative. Faist’s portrayal adds an introspective layer, emphasising the importance of perspective and storytelling.

The Bikeriders is a cinematic triumph that captures the essence of a rebellious era wrapped around a documentary-style crime drama. Jeff Nichols’ direction, combined with stellar performances and a compelling storyline, makes it a must-watch for any motorcycle, Jodie Comer, or crime drama fan. Jodie Comer, in particular, stands out with an incredible performance that truly brings Kathy to life, making her a standout among an already remarkable cast. The film not only pays homage to the iconic biker movies of the past but also carves out its own place in the genre, offering a nuanced and humanising portrayal of a subculture often misunderstood.

The Bikeriders is out now in cinemas and theatres across the US, the UK, Canada, and most countries worldwide. It is set to hit Australia on July 4, followed by the Netherlands, Norway, and Spain in the same month while Taiwan, Argentina, Poland, and Sweden will have to wait for August. It is being distributed by Focus Features with its parent company Universal Pictures.

Follow The Bikeriders on social media here:

Follow Jodie Comer on social media here:

Follow Austin Butler on social media here:

Follow Tom Hardy on social media here:

Share this article and tag us @GoodStarVibes to let us know if you’ve seen The Bikeriders and what your thoughts on the film are.

Virtual Coffee

Buy the Good Star Vibes team a virtual coffee.

You may also like

Adblock Detected

Please support us by disabling your AdBlocker extension from your browsers for our website.