Denis Villeneuve Was ‘Blown Away’ by This 97%-Rated Western: Watch It on Netflix

Denis Villeneuve Was ‘Blown Away’ by This 97%-Rated Western: Watch It on Netflix
Image credit: Legion-Media, Sony Pictures Classics

Don’t miss the genre’s gem praised by the cinema’s giant!


  • Back in 2017, the world saw the brand new Western, following a story of a young rodeo rider, which featured an entirely non-professional cast.
  • Directed by the Eternals’ filmmaker, it received glowing praise from Denis Villeneuve, who stated it approached life in the most exciting way possible.
  • It is really worth-watching for the fans of Westerns.

Despite he’s most recognized as the master of science fiction, the Dune Director is in fact a jack of all trades, given his well-built drama and thriller features (Incendies, Prisoners). Thus, his movie recommendations will be of much value for the cinephiles.

Criticizing MCU ’s straight-forward approach to blockbusters, Villeneuve emphasized the correctness of the decision to hire an arthouse filmmaker to direct Eternals in 2021. While speaking of it, he recalled another work of this director, the 2017 western, which blew him away the first time he saw it, amazed by its realism.

The movie’s plot can seem quite banal when you just hear it: it follows the life of a young rodeo rider in the reservation in South Dakota. He’s totally not a typical hero, like the early characters of Clint Eastwood, but rather a tired man, who has to deal with his own severe brain damage from a rodeo accident and to help his weak close ones.

Denis Villeneuve Was ‘Blown Away’ by This 97%-Rated Western: Watch It on Netflix - image 1

What makes a movie really special is the fact it imitates life the best way possible. The cast here assembles non-professional actors, the descendants of the Native American Lakota people from the Pine Ridge Reservation. It turns out they played fictionalized versions of themselves, so the film can be partially called a documentary one.

The movie also benefits from the vision of its director, the Oscar-winning Chloé Zhao, famous for her Western film Nomadland (2020). She clearly did an incredible job putting the camera accents and capturing the truth of the modern cowboys’ problems.

“What touched me was your insane skill to be able to approach life. Life is so afraid of the camera. When I saw The Rider, I cried because I was like, ‘She did it. She was able to go in that zone that I thought was not possible,’” said Villeneuve, speaking to Zhao.

Titled The Rider, it appears to be a real must-watch for all fans of the Western genre, as they will appreciate such a truthful depiction of the reservation’s life that earned a decent score of 97% on Rotten Tomatoes.

“Movies like this are the future of cinema. Find the real people, tell the real stories,” admits Redditor @jessicattiva.

Check out this realistic masterpiece, as The Rider is available for watching on Netflix .

Source: Harper's Bazaar