This film was previously reviewed in February 2021 as part of our Glasgow Film Festival coverage.

Coincidences are thoroughly dissected in Riders of Justice, a thriller that puts to the test all the neverending ways in which fate can juggle with life. After a freak accident causes the death of dozens of people, including Markus’ (Mads Mikkelsen) wife, the army officer returns home from a mission to console his teenage daughter Mathilde (Andrea Heick Gadeberg). When a trio of expert mathematicians knock on his door claiming the accident to be a carefully crafted plan instead of sheer bad luck, the officer embarks on a frenzied manhunt aided by the clumsy geeks. 

Stuck between comedy and revenge thriller, Riders of Justice often feels lost, sitting on a fence that does little for the narrative. When it dives headfirst into comedy, it is a highly enjoyable watch, the back and forths between the mathematicians delightfully witty and the contrast between the trio of blabbermouths and the sombre, almost mute Markus, an asserted feat. When it attempts to amp the tension, however, something is amiss. We expect the unhinged madness of Mikkelsen, and what we get is frustratingly contained. 

The ensemble is the film’s heart and soul. As this quirky extended family awkwardly sits side by side on an ever-growing dinner table, grief is momentarily diluted and in its place is installed a general feeling of camaraderie. To Mathilde, a loud house quiets the sorrow and to these misfits, the young girl is a darling mascot. 

“A lot of awful things can happen in your life”, says one of the men to the girl, discretion clearly not his forte. The statement, with its uncensored bleakness, could be felt like a gut punch but, instead, is seen for what it was – a testament to human resilience. In essence, one can’t ever predict what life has in store, but they can certainly choose who to face it with. 



CAST: Mads Mikkelsen, Nikolaj Lie Kaas, Roland Møller

DIRECTOR: Anders Thomas Jensen

WRITER: Anders Thomas Jensen

SYNOPSIS: Markus, who has to go home to his teenage daughter, Mathilde, when his wife dies in a tragic train accident. It seems like an accident until a mathematics geek, who was also a fellow passenger on the train, and his two colleagues show up.