Author Topic: Nicolas Winding Refn  (Read 20338 times)

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gob

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Nicolas Winding Refn
« on: November 23, 2006, 04:37:05 AM »
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I was surprised to see upon searching that there's no mention of the Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn anywhere on the board. I have just blitzed through his "Pusher" trilogy and I was blown away by all of the films and think that this is a very talented bloke indeed. He mixes brutal intensity with instinctive character study and pulls it off. With the Pusher films he's effectively the Cassavetes of the Danish underworld.



To anyone with any interest in the crime genre I think you should seek these films out - actually any film lover with a strong stomach should seek them out. There is a level of consistency in the acting and the execution of the films that I think is hard to find, especially in gangster films - although this is a different beast entirely and avoids the trappings of the genre.

The performances of the three leads in the three "Pusher" films [ I: Kim Bodnia  II: Mads Mikkelsen III: Zlatko Buric ] are, in my mind, flawless. I was talking to a friend of mine recently after seeing the recent Italian film "Romanzo Criminale", which I didn't particularly like, about why some 'crime epics' can grab you so strongly on an emotional level e.g. "City of God" and why others can't. I think a great deal has to do with the people you're following. All of these characters are multi-dimensional: somehow simultaneously sympathetic and disgusting and most importantly - always engaging. It's also due to the way that Refn creates this very believable and seemingly authentic world. Handheld camerawork to create 'realism' often annoys me but here it doesn't seem contrived, just part of the package. The use of music as well, if I heard the music out of context it would probably just irritate me; in the films it is used to great effect.

Refn crafts the Pusher films very skilfully utilising all elements of cinema to his advantage. I now intend to find his sophomoric film "Bleeder" starring Kim Bodnia of Pusher I and "Fear X" his US effort starring John Turturro (which actually bankrupted him). I'm also looking forward to Valhalla Rising - his Viking epic starring Mads Mikkelsen.

wilder

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Re: Nicolas Winding Refn
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2011, 04:04:39 PM »
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Ryan Gosling & Nicolas Winding Refn Team For ‘Logan’s Run’
via The Playlist

Ahhh! This is what Ryan Gosling was alluding to. Let’s face it, we didn’t give a shit about the “Logan’s Run” remake throughout its long development history that saw a number of directors—notably Bryan Singer and more recently Carl Erik Rinsch (who is moving on to do “47 Ronin”)—circle the director’s chair. But congratu-fucking-lations Warner Bros., you made us sit up and take notice.

Deadline reports that the WB is sealing the deal that will find “Drive” duo Ryan Gosling and Nicolas Winding Refn take on the sci-fi reboot. Yep, our tickets are bought—twice over. Gosling will take on the role of Logan 5, a “Sandman” who is tasked with with putting to sleep those who reach the age of 30, the maximum allowed by the futuristic society. But when his own date of termination arrives, well, he goes on the run.

The film will still utilize the script written by Alex Garland (”28 Days Later,” “Sunshine”), which has apparently made the suits at Warner  Bros. very happy. So, Nicolas Winding Refn getting money to play in the studio sandbox? Fuck. Yes. We can’t wait to see what the visually ambitious director dreams up for this reboot and with Gosling along for the ride into his first tentpole movie, this will certainly be hugely exciting.

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I'm a huge fan of The Pusher Trilogy and his later projects are all really interesting and daring in different ways. Drive, also starring Gosling, about a stunt man who moonlights as a getaway driver will be released later this year, and after this Logan's Run business is out I'm sure all of you will know his name - he seems to me to be the most promising young(ish) director who could transition to do studio stuff and actually make a mark.

Stefen

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Re: Nicolas Winding Refn
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2011, 05:25:53 PM »
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Exciting news.

Out of The Pusher trilogy, I only saw II and it was pretty great. Out of all his peers, he's on his way to having one of the most exciting filmographies. I didn't care for Valhalla Rising, but I appreciate the effort.
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wilder

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Re: Nicolas Winding Refn
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2011, 06:41:12 PM »
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Glad you liked Pusher II - give the other two a chance if you have the time. The first Pusher isn't as completley character based as its sequels, something more akin to a movie like Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, whereas Pusher III is almost entirely about the central character's personal despair. If you watch them in order, and actually, if you follow all of Refn's work to the present, it's interesting to see how he started off telling stories with bare-minimum plots he could hang character work on, and slowly evolved to make something like Valhalla Rising, which is so abstract it's practically...well its central character is more of a symbol than a person.

I'm excited to see what he'll do stylistically now that he's going back to making movies that have definite plot elements, but with the technical expertise he's gained over the course of the last decade.

wilder

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Re: Nicolas Winding Refn
« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2011, 06:22:07 PM »
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Luke Evans & Kristin Scott-Thomas Join Nicolas Winding Refn’s ‘Only God Forgives’
via The Playlist

Just a little bit of a history lesson before we begin: Danish auteur Nicolas Winding Refn had originally planned to shoot “Only God Forgives” before a little project called “Drive” with Ryan Gosling fell into his lap. And while he went off to shoot the upcoming Cannes-competing flick, “Only God Forgives” stayed on his radar and last summer he said that not only did he still plan to make it, he would starting lensing once he was finished up with “Drive.” More recently, composer Cliff Martinez—who has scored “Drive”—told us in an extensive interview that while he’s tentatively talked to Refn about “Logan’s Run,” the director was planning another film in between. And it looks like Refn is sticking to that schedule and is beginning to round up a cast.

Cineuropa reveals that Luke Evans and Kristin Scott-Thomas have boarded the film which will be looking for international sales at Cannes. As for the story, it’s typically (for Refn) and awesomely out there, centering on a Thai police lieutenant whose rivalry with a gangster sees the two settling their differences in a Thai boxing match. There’s no word yet on just who they’ll play in the film, though we’d guess Evans will be up for the gangster role.

Production timelines haven’t been revealed but we’d guess “Only God Forgives” will roll sometime this summer with Refn following up with “Logan’s Run” in late 2011 or early 2012 (previous reports had that film going in the fall, however, Warner Bros. also wants Gosling for “Gangster Squad” which is aiming to shoot this summer as well). Either way, it looks like a bounty on the horizon for Refn fans. “Drive” premieres at Cannes next month and hits theaters on September 16th and we’d wager we’ll see “Only God Forgives” sometime in 2012—perhaps with the director back on the Croisette?

wilder

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Re: Nicolas Winding Refn
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2011, 09:25:46 PM »
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Model Agyness Deyn Leads Cast Of English Remake Of ‘Pusher’ Approved By Nicolas Winding Refn
via The Playlist



Before “Bronson” broke him through, those in the know were already hip to Nicolas Winding Refn thanks to his “Pusher” series. The trilogy explored the criminal and drug fueled underworld of Copenhagen with the director’s trademark flourish. It put his name firmly on the list of those to watch and helped launch Refn to the position he sits in today where stuff like the “Logan’s Run” reboot are now viable options. Cinema is filled with numerous gangster pics but “Pusher” seems to be a favorite. It’s already been remade once in a Hindi language version and now the director his putting his weight behind an English take on the material.

Refn is executive producing a remake which will feature an oddball cast toplined by model and newcomer actress Agyness Deyn (she made her feature debut in “Clash of the Titans” last year). Richard Coyle (”Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time”), Bronson Webb (”Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides”) and Paul Kaye (”It’s All Gone Pete Tong”) round out the cast for the film which is now set in London (if the crew of Brit actors didn’t tip you off) and will follow the adventures of Frank, just like Refn’s original. Luis Prieto—don’t worry, we never heard of him either—will direct. The helmer is probably best known for his short “Bamboleho” which won Best Narrative at the first annual Tribeca Film Festival in 2002.

“Pusher was the film that launched my career and to have Luis Prieto direct the remake in London will be an exciting venture. It’s a classic tale with strong characters and has an engaging narrative. To see my characters, Frank and Tony in London, one of the most exciting and diverse cities in the world, is an opportunity not to be missed,” Refn said in a statement.

As you might guess, we’re not entirely thrilled by a remake but with Refn at least weighing in on some level it should be at least interesting. Right? Anyway, we’ll keep it in the back of our minds for now as there is much to look forward to. The director has “Drive” premiering in just over a week at the Cannes Film Festival and later this year he’ll gear up to lens “Only God Forgives” with Luke Evans and Kristin Scott Thomas.

Stefen

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Re: Nicolas Winding Refn
« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2011, 09:07:22 PM »
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I think it's time we create a Drive thread. It deserves one since it will most likely be one of the our favorite movies of the year.

Do the honors, wilderesque.

I could only get the first clip to play, but it looks great.
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Mr. Merrill Lehrl

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Re: Nicolas Winding Refn
« Reply #7 on: June 11, 2011, 06:14:19 PM »
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Been playing Refn catch up.  I'd only seen and been disappointed by Valhalla Rising, although I should perhaps revisit that film when I'm done.  Really enjoyed the bombastic style of Bronson.

But the Pusher films are where he's really shined.  I've watched the first two.  I thought the first was like an Ulrich Seidl documentary.  Its reputation for feeling authentic is justifiable.  But then Pusher II grows in this incredible, exciting way.  Wilderesque is right to say you can witness the growth of Refn through his movies, more so than other filmmakers because he's making such fearless leaps in style.  Pusher II has a lot of poetry, a lot of meaningful cinematic interaction with its protagonist's soul.  It feels like more experiencing the character's life, rather than solely observing like in Pusher.

Pusher III soon.
“If I had to hold up the most heavily fortified bank in America,” Bolaño says, “I’d take a gang of poets. The attempt would probably end in disaster, but it would be beautiful.”

wilder

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Re: Nicolas Winding Refn
« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2011, 06:34:41 PM »
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Glad you're enjoying them. I see parallels in Refn, PT, and Michael Mann's work in that most of their movies center around characters who dominate their worlds by sheer force of personality, or are (usually tragically) attempting to protect whatever little bubble world or lifestyle they've managed to scrape together for themselves. I don't know if that speaks to the egocentric mindset of the directors or...

Mr. Merrill Lehrl

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Re: Nicolas Winding Refn
« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2011, 06:42:52 PM »
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Glad you're enjoying them. I see parallels in Refn, PT, and Michael Mann's work in that most of their movies center around characters who dominate their worlds by sheer force of personality, or are (usually tragically) attempting to protect whatever little bubble world or lifestyle they've managed to scrape together for themselves. I don't know if that speaks to the egocentric mindset of the directors or...

Fantastic observation.  I don't think it's exclusive to the three you named.  An early example would be Josef von Sternberg and Marlene Dietrich, her roles in his films Morocco and Blonde Venus for example.  Doesn't it describe Charlie Chaplin too?
“If I had to hold up the most heavily fortified bank in America,” Bolaño says, “I’d take a gang of poets. The attempt would probably end in disaster, but it would be beautiful.”

wilder

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Re: Nicolas Winding Refn
« Reply #10 on: June 11, 2011, 06:45:33 PM »
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Yeah I dig Sternberg, too. I haven't seen enough of Chaplin's stuff to comment, but I'll take your word  :yabbse-smiley:

Mr. Merrill Lehrl

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Re: Nicolas Winding Refn
« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2011, 06:55:22 PM »
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Chaplin doesn't fit as neatly because he's not aggressively dominating his worlds.  His characters have a false humility or aloofness, this weird thing wherein the world bends for them without them noticing.  You know, they're comedies.

But what about gangster movies?  Pre-noir gangster movies, around the pre-code time.  Funny to think of Edward G. Robinson and James Cagney pushing people around in their worlds and behind the camera are these legendarily tough no-funny-business early Hollywood directors with monocles, goblets of whiskey, and holstered guns.
“If I had to hold up the most heavily fortified bank in America,” Bolaño says, “I’d take a gang of poets. The attempt would probably end in disaster, but it would be beautiful.”

Mr. Merrill Lehrl

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Re: Nicolas Winding Refn
« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2011, 07:06:38 PM »
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I really like that too but hadn't put it into words.  So thanks.  You see it a ton in literature and I think less in film.

What's the quote from?
“If I had to hold up the most heavily fortified bank in America,” Bolaño says, “I’d take a gang of poets. The attempt would probably end in disaster, but it would be beautiful.”

theyarelegion

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Re: Nicolas Winding Refn
« Reply #13 on: June 12, 2011, 12:07:06 AM »
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can we agree that Pusher III is the best of his trilogy?

Mr. Merrill Lehrl

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Re: Nicolas Winding Refn
« Reply #14 on: June 12, 2011, 06:07:58 AM »
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Spoiler alert please.
“If I had to hold up the most heavily fortified bank in America,” Bolaño says, “I’d take a gang of poets. The attempt would probably end in disaster, but it would be beautiful.”

 

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