Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Merry CrimesMas: Sandra Ruttan on Riders of Justice

Riders of Justice
starts with Mathilde telling her grandfather what she wants for Christmas. A bike. A blue bike, because she doesn't favor red.                                                                                        When that blue bike is stolen, that crime's the first domino in a series of falling blocks that upend lives.                                                                              Gear shift to a couple mathematicians giving a presentation about an algorithm that can, theoretically, predict events. With the right funding, Otto, Lennart, and Emmenthaler can continue their research. Only they aren't getting the funding. They're getting fired. 

When Mathilde and Otto cross paths, a train accident changes their lives forever. Both look for understanding, an explanation. And perhaps nobody needs answers more than Mathilde's father, Marcus. Marcus is a soldier and he returns after the accident, and he isn't coping well.

On the surface, Riders of Justice turns into a revenge story. Pull back the layers, and you have stories about grieving men struggling with loss and their inability to confront their pain and cope with their loss. This movie's so densely and skillfully layered, to say much at all would spoil the magic. Come for the revenge, stay for the healing. If I could rename this movie anything, I'd call it Miracles for the Broken

At one point, when Mathilde asks her dad if he believed in God when he was young, Marcus tells her, "I also believed in Santa. But when you grow up you have to be able to distinguish between reality and fantasy."

Turns out, the lines between fantasy and reality might be thinner than Marcus realizes. What I absolutely love about this movie is that you might think the soldier would come home and find out who was responsible for the train crash and get revenge, but Marcus isn't the hero of the story. The hero is a mathematician who has the courage to pursue his beliefs and admit his mistakes. The trio of math geeks add depth to this story and every little thing pays off in spades. And their individual traumas all impact the story in meaningful ways.

This is my favorite Christmas movie. And quite possibly my favorite found family ever. And yes, Christmas is a bigger part of the movie than I've mentioned here, but I've skipped the spoilers and stuck to teasers to entice you to head to Hulu and check this movie out yourself. Highly recommended.

Sandra Rutta
n's currently partnering with Laurel Hightower to release The Dead Inside, an identity horror anthology, in early 2021. Stay tuned for more projects and publication opportunities via Dark Dispatch

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