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  • The Bikeriders: Motorcycle club counterculture


The Bikeriders: Motorcycle club counterculture

Under Jeff Nichols' direction, The Bikeriders shows viewers the dark side of organized crime through the eyes of a motorcycle gang and their loved ones. ★★★★ 1/2

Photo courtesy of Kyle Kaplan

I’m always excited at the prospect of a new Jeff Nichols film. Here he reunites with actor Michael Shannon and composer David Wingo, who both collaborated on Nichols’ great Take Shelter from 2011. The Bikeriders is based on a 1968 photobook of Chicago bikers by photojournalist Danny Lyon, whose work features in the end credits. The book is critically acclaimed for its significant contribution to both photography and the counterculture of the time, an emblem of ‘Americana’ aesthetics.

Nichols uses this as a jumping-off point for his narrative, which follows the Vandals MC, an imaginary motorcycle club featuring Shannon, Jodie Comer, Austin Butler, Tom Hardy, Mike Faist and Norman Reedus as the film’s main protagonists. Seen through the experiences of its members and their loved ones, the club undergoes a transformation spanning 10 years, transitioning from a supportive community for societal misfits to a menacing force of organised crime, a shift which jeopardises the original ideals and lifestyle.

All the cast are in top form, and although at times the tone of the film can feel a little out of balance, all in all Nichols finds himself easily at home here, and the photos are a great starting point for the director to reveal some of his best work to date. ★★★★ 1/2

  • Starts Jun 20 in theatres across Berlin, details.