‘The Bikeriders’ Review – Jodie Comer Is the Heart of a Mixed Bag of a Movie

The Big Picture

  • The Bikeriders
    lacks flavor and substance despite its talented cast, resulting in a chaotic and uninteresting film experience.
  • The film fails to establish meaningful character development and setup, leaving the audience uninvested in the interactions and relationships.
  • While there are moments of humor and commentary on masculinity and violence, the movie ultimately becomes offensive and misses the mark with its portrayal of women.

This review was originally part of our coverage for the 2023 London Film Festival.

Jeff Nichols’s The Bikeriders has inadvertently become one of the most anticipated releases of the year. Premiering at the Telluride Film Festival and London Film Festival last year, its original release date was December 2023 but 20th Century Studios took it off its slate due to the writers’ strike. Focus Features then picked up the US distribution rights with Universal handling its international release, finally giving The Bikeriders a confirmed release date of June 2024. It’s been a long road that The Bikeriders has had to zoom down, which unfortunately has added more hype than the film deserves. This is only exacerbated by it starring a plethora of Hollywood names, including recently instated it boys, Austin Butler and Mike Faist. The ensemble drama epitomizes that saying “Too many cooks in the kitchen.” While there are many talented chefs crowded over the hobs, there is no flavor or spice. Starring Jodie Comer, Austin Butler, Tom Hardy, Michael Shannon, and Mike Faist, the latest picture from the Mud and Loving director is a chaotic misfire, full of beautiful faces but no substance.

The Bikeriders

Follows the rise of a midwestern motorcycle club as it evolves over the course of a decade – from a gathering place for local outsiders into a more sinister gang, threatening the original group’s way of life.

Release Date
June 21, 2024

Jeff Nichols

116 Minutes

Jeff Nichols

What Is ‘The Bikeriders’ About?

The Bikeriders follows a dual timeline. In the present, which is the early ‘70s, we watch Jodi Comer’s Kathy be interviewed by a former motorcycle gang member turned photographer and budding journalist (an underused Mike Faist in the role of the author of the book the film is based on). As she does her laundry, complains about bikes in her yard, and drinks beer, she recounts the story of how she met her husband, Benny (Austin Butler). As Kathy regales, we go back a few years and watch her stories unfold in real time. We see Kathy and Benny meet in a bar, five weeks after which they marry. We learn how the Chicago Vandals, the motorcycle gang that Benny is devoutly committed to was started by leader Johnny (Tom Hardy operating on another planet). We meet various members of the gang, we watch them ride and ride and ride, and we bear witness to a marriage that we are supposed to be invested in. And, yeah, with some violence, arson, knives, and guns — that’s about it.


‘The Bikeriders’: Release Date, Cast, Plot, and Everything We Know So Far About Austin Butler’s Next Movie

Tom Hardy, Jodie Comer, and Austin Butler are just some of the big names attached to star in Jeff Nichols’ new film.

The Bikeriders seems shiny on the surface. It has a talented ensemble — from Emmy winners to Oscar nominees to the King himself, Michael Shannon. It’s about a motorbike gang so we might expect some action, intrigue, and a good story. But it delivers on none of this. It jumps around from character to character, giving us various conversations that have no depth because none of the hard work has been done. There’s no setup or character development to make us care about any of these interactions. A lot of the runtime (two hours but feels like three) is devoted to watching these people drink some beer and shoot the shit — and it’s all so boring.

‘The Bikeriders’ Puts Too Much Time in the Wrong Places

If the film took some of the time given to secondary, inconsequential characters and devoted it to the main players, it would be in a better spot. The heart of this film is meant to be the marriage between Benny and Kathy. Kathy goes up against the formidable Johnny (formidable if Tom Hardy didn’t look like he had just been zapped into this dimension and was trying to play it cool) and endures the stupidity of the no-good gang members because she loves her husband. But that love is nowhere to be seen. Comer and Butler have no chemistry and their relationship is given barely any care. “Five weeks later I married him.” Listen, no woman needs to justify marrying Austin Butler, but when this relationship is the core of the story, a few more details would have been nice. Seeing a tender love story against all the dirt and leather could have made this somewhat compelling, especially when we’re told again and again that we should care about the fate of this relationship.



“You’re Making Me Blush” – Why Austin Butler Is More Than a Beautiful Bikerider

‘The Bikeriders’ costar Jodie Comer comes to Butler’s rescue in this interview and also reveals why she could never go method.

The movie shines when it’s not taking itself too seriously. A major theme throughout is the folly of man, and how one (man) can get caught up in a way of life they think is empowering but is actually just dangerous and stupid. Nichols does not glamorize a fistfight between Johnny and a challenging member. As they roll around in the mud and get their fingers broken, they look like two spoiled brats fighting over the last cookie, and it’s briefly glorious. Johnny doesn’t form the group because he needs an outlet to exert his masculinity — he does it because he wants to be as cool as Marlon Brando after he watches The Wild One. (A nice nod to the way movies make little men look big.) It takes away the pedestal of hard men like these and reveals the impact on one’s livelihood, relationships, and identity that a life of violence has. If it leaned into these aspects more and cut some of the filler, it could have served as an interesting commentary on masculinity and the glamorization of violence. “Could” is the operative word here.

The film does try to show the sinister underbelly of these gangs, but it ends up being wildly offensive. A misunderstanding results in Kathy almost being raped by three members of the gang. While she’s saved by Johnny and assured she was the wrong target, it begs the question: who was the right one? It insinuates that Kathy’s value is determined by her relationships with men. It should have been a much-needed reminder of what women face in environments like these but ends up being an abhorrent case of slutshaming of women who aren’t married to the big dog.

The Performances of ‘The Bikeriders’ Are a Mixed Bag

Tom Hardy in The Bikeriders
Image via Focus Features

Jodie Comer is the heart of this movie, and while her accent work is a far cry from Killing Eve, she fills her role well. Austin Butler is the big shiny toy dangled before us. While Benny is meant to be the love of Kathy’s life and the apple of Johnny’s eye, he kind of just sits there, smoking and saying absolutely nothing. Does he look good? No question. But for a character who drives his wife and mentor to go out on a limb for him again and again, his broody emptiness doesn’t fit the bill. This is by no means Butler’s fault — the script (written by Nichols and based on a memoir) lends him no depth. After Dune: Part Two showcased Butler’s dark and eccentric side, his blank moody stares don’t make any use of the actor’s inherent talent. Tom Hardy easily gives the funniest performance of his career; whether that’s intentional or not I still don’t know. His accent is more questionable than Comer’s but it gives a lot of laughs. Am I laughing with or at Johnny? Who cares, it’s some fun in an otherwise bland film.

The Bikeriders could have been decent but it gets lost in its pursuit of an epic story that just isn’t there. While Comer makes a committed effort to carry the film, it falls flat in its excessive filler, undeveloped characters, and symphony of bonkers accents.



The Bikeriders

The Bikeriders leans too heavily on its talented ensemble and asks its audience to invest in a half-baked story.


  • Jodie Comer gives a committed and passionate performance, making her a stand-out in the cast.

  • The marriage between Kathy and Benny is at the center of the story but their relationship isn’t developed enough to feel authentic.
  • The main characters of The Bikeriders aren’t fully formed, making it hard to connect to them.

The Bikeriders is now available to stream on VOD in the U.S.


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