Alright, so I've been a fan of Nicolas Winding Refn since I first viewed Pusher (1996) in the late 1990's. The Pusher Trilogy is brutal, sincere and smarts of humanity. There's a reason it's a cult phenomenon: in an age of inauthenticity and righteousness, it's aggressive, honest, and to the point.
Bronson (2008) pushes in this direction, and extends the rage: forcefully, compassionately and wholeheartedly. There's a dreamlike quality to the sumptuousness of the images, rich and fertile in their splendor and violence. The camera becomes intoxicated, caught up in the moment, and the sudden outbursts of expression and indignation. It's as if justice cries forth amidst the insanity of it all. Valhalla Rising (2009), on this exact same trajectory - of madness, compulsion and intensity - delves further into an exploration of the living dream. Existence is put on stage so as to deliver a performance.
EnterNicolas Winding Refn latest film, Drive (2011), which has been described as a "neo-noir": a combination of Fante and Bukowski. Featuring Ryan Gosling (more about him in a future post) Drive is poised to explode the noir genre. There's a lovely interview with Ryan Gosling and Nicolas Winding Refn in the WSJ, that serves as a compliment to the video posted above. Totally fascinated by the creative process they describe, as "living the movie".