Riders of Justice review – oddly life-affirming revenge comedy

·1-min read

A former military man is driven to avenge the death of his wife with brutal, at times overly enthusiastic efficiency. It’s a fairly generic revenge movie premise. However, in the hands of Danish director and co-writer Anders Thomas Jensen (the man behind transgressive black comedy Men & Chicken), the revenge movie takes a swerve into more unexpected territory. Jensen’s approach has always been to push the limits of acceptable subjects for comedy, and this is no exception. Violence aside, there are some moments – I hesitate to call them gags – dealing with sexual abuse that venture into pretty dark places, comedically speaking. Others are gloriously absurd. We laugh, partly, from relief at escaping the unimaginable.

The reliably excellent Mads Mikkelsen channels the rigid black-and-white certainties of military man Markus. But in this case it’s his co-stars Nikolaj Lie Kaas (as probability geek Otto), Lars Brygmann (hacker and barn enthusiast Lennart) and in particular Nicolas Bro (rage-filled tech-nerd Emmenthaler) who steal this very violent, very funny and oddly life-affirming film.

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