Nomadland director Chloé Zhao’s sophomore film, The Rider, evokes a not-dissimilar feel with its setting in the South Dakota Badlands. On the Pine Ridge Reservation, Brady Blackburn (Brady Jandreau) is a former rodeo star struggling following the traumatic brain injury that ended his career as it was barely getting started. Even as his family and doctors warn him to stop, he develops a determination to, literally, get back in the saddle—but don’t worry, this isn’t the kind of movie where things are as easy, nor as pat, as that description implies. Chloé Zhao contrasts the beauty of the wide-open skies and landscapes with the poverty and problems of the people who call the Badlands home. Her first film, Songs My Brothers Taught Me, is also set on the Pine Ridge Rez and is similarly great—hopefully she’ll bring that style to her upcoming Marvel movie.
Where to stream: Prime Video, Hulu, Starz