- The performance given by Brady Jandreau here is fantastic. Jandreau here plays a version of himself (Just his last name is changed) and he is also not a professional actor. Which is quite remarkable, because he has a large magnetic screen presence. Jandreau gives a strong internal performance, which really makes you ache for him throughout, as he goes on his journey of self discovery.
- The direction by Chloé Zhao here is something to feast over. Zhao brings a Terrence Malick-esque feel to the starkly beautiful South Dakota Badlands. She sets up the landscape as nearly a character itself, as we explore it with Brady as he rides with some of his horses. Zhao also brings multiple mesmerizing horse training sequences that really put you in awe with the gentle control Brady has with a horse. Chloé Zhao is easily one of the most exciting new filmmakers working today and I can’t wait to see what she does next.
- Just like her direction, Chloé Zhao’s screenplay here is beyond compelling. There are multiple riveting character moments in this film that will push you to near tears. Easily the ones that stand out the most, are all the moments between Brady and his friend Lane Scott (Who also plays himself). Zhao as well brings a strong yet subtle metaphor to this film. We see throughout the film Brady battling his hand clinching up and locking at unexpected times. This I find obviously representing his struggle of letting riding go and having to move on. Zhao really strips down the mythical look at the American cowboy and puts together a fascinating study of recovery and masculinity.
- The cinematography by Joshua James Richards here is gorgeous. The collaboration of his cinematography and Chloé Zhao’s direction will have your eyes glued to the screen.
- The narrative of the film is at times a little too familiar.