The Bikeriders (15)

The Bikeriders

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Inspired by Danny Lyon’s 1968 photographic study of Chicago bikers, this power struggle-cum-love triangle is riveting stuff.

Although Jeff Nichols’s film shares the book’s title, it’s no documentary recreation, rather a revved-up pulp-fictional replay of the long-lost outlaw biker movie. Our guide is Kathy (Jodie Comer), the wife of brooding bad boy Benny (a James Dean-esque Austin Butler) who finds herself relegated to a distant second place behind the biker life and Benny’s mentor, leader-of-the pack Johnny (Tom Hardy). The gang, known as The Vandals, also include members Cal (Boyd Holbrook) and Zipco (Michael Shannon). It’s a vivid, fleshed-out insider’s eye view of a subculture populated by authentically hard-edged lost souls.

In telling the story from Kathy’s point of view, Nichols humanises and disarms his characters, giving each one greater depth than typically expected of a testosterone-fuelled, biking affair.

Everything is played out against a delicious soundtrack of ‘60s deep cuts, and while Nichols could have gotten away with simply having Comer, in retro leather, careening down the highway on a Harley, he offers a much more engaging story. And if you’re a sucker for cracking endings, it’s unmissable.