The Bikeriders: Time Travel into the Depths of a Counterculture

MOVIE NEWS – A chance meeting gave birth to the new film of the two-time Cannes Palme d’Or winner Jeff Nichols, screenwriter-director. More than twenty years ago, he got his hands on photojournalist Danny Lyon’s book The Bikeriders, and the experience hasn’t let him go since. Lyon spent four years in the saddle as a member of a biker gang, photographing them and interviewing them, which gave birth to his book, which has been published several times since 1968.


Author filmmaker Nichols has never been a fan of motorbikes, he still finds them terrifying, something else attracted him to the world presented by Lyon: the bikers of the sixties belonged to a specific counterculture, they enjoyed tribal life it provided the experience of belonging, while the illusions about it did not dissipate everywhere. The director experienced something similar in his youth in Little Rock, where the punk rock underground flourished.

“In the mid-nineties, I was also involved in the side waters of punk rock,” Nichols recalled to Den of Geek magazine. – My brother was up to his neck in it, he and his friends were tearing up the guitar, what they were doing was amateurish and raw in a good sense. Then Green Day came into vogue, and the whole trend became extremely popular, so it lost its subculture character.”

According to Nichols’s theory, subculture as a phenomenon stems from the fundamental truth that people want to belong to some community that has its own laws, aesthetics and style. “Then it outgrows itself and becomes an affected imitation. Like when a snake bites your butt.”

Nichols wanted to capture the moment of this particular bite with The Bikeriders. Based on the motifs of Lyon’s book, it tells the story of a fictional motorcycle club, the Vandals, whose members wanted to be Marlon Brando from the movie “The Savage” and Dennis Hopper from “The Gentlemen”. moment passed and they became something completely different.

“It started as a leisure club, where the guys get together, race, beef, everything revolves around booze and girls, then more and more malicious metastases appeared, and the company ended up as a serious criminal organization” explained Nichols.

Nichols has recruited a very serious company for his film. The leader of the Vandals is played by Oscar nominee Tom Hardy (The Returner), the young demigod of the team is also Oscar nominated Austin Butler (Elvis), his love, and the narrator of the story is played by Jodie Comer (Battle of the Obsessed).

(The Bikeriders – domestic release: June 20, 2024.)

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