Nicolas Winding Refn

IU-Cinema-Drama-Theatre-a3

“Movie Houses of Worship” is a regular feature spotlighting our favorite movie theaters around the world, those temples of cinema catering to the most religious-like film geeks. If you’d like to suggest or submit a place you regularly worship at the altar of cinema, please email our weekend editor. The Indiana University Cinema Location: 1213 East 7th St. Bloomington, IN Date Opened: January 13, 2011 No. of Screens: 1 Current first-run titles: Only God Forgives. This weekend, the cinema devoted itself to a retrospective of the work of director Nicolas Winding Refn, who was present for several introductions, conversations, Q&As and (of course) his latest Gosling-fest. Repertory Programming: Filling out the rest of the Refn series were screenings of Bronson, Valhalla Rising and Drive, all presented on 35mm prints. And in a shrewd programming move during a weekend that hosted a director known for his love of B-movies and schlock cinema, this weekend launched the Cinema’s annual Midnight series with H. Tjut Djalil’s trash-terpiece Lady Terminator. Sunday began another director retrospective focused on the work of independent filmmaker and distributor Ava DuVernay, beginning with the Jamaican crime drama Better Mus’ Come and DuVernay’s own hip-hop documentary This is the Life. The DuVernay screenings continue throughout the week at the IU Cinema and the campus’s Black Film Center Archive.

read more...

The Act of Killing

There’s plenty of violence in Hollywood summer tentpole movies. In superhero films and toy adaptations, it’s become something resembling common practice to have a climax that involves the probable off-screen collateral deaths of thousands of nameless civilians. But most Hollywood film violence is of the largely inconsequential, routinely PG-13 variety, with the bad guy inevitably receiving their comeuppance, all of it “tastefully” lacking realism. As if Hollywood’s representations of violence didn’t seem cartoonishly inconsequential enough, in a move approaching self-parody, this weekend saw the major release of a film involving supernatural cops who hunt down perpetrators that are already dead. Early this year, in response to the controversy over the representation of torture in Zero Dark Thirty, I quoted the argument from a friend’s rather great book that “movie violence” is a floating, elusive signifier; it hardly means one given thing, and its possible meanings and potential affects are largely dependent upon a great many intersecting factors. While I stand by this assertion, during the summer more than any time of year, it’s clear that Hollywood film violence can be relatively homogenous: typically passive, unimaginative, unserious, stultifying. But during past few weeks, the limited release/arthouse sector has seen an abundance of films that represent violent actions in myriad ways, using and exploring violence towards varying ends, none of which involve a fleeting moment of utilitarian spectacle.

read more...

Nicolas Winding Refn had his biggest hit with Drive. The film may have angered some viewers enough to file a lawsuit, but it also inspired a generation of young hipsters to empower themselves by donning The Driver’s scorpion-spangled jacket. Whether that’s a good thing is up for debate, but to make someone feel inspired enough to wear the jacket of a violent criminal is no small feat. After audiences see Refn’s followup film Only God Forgives no one is going to want mimic these characters. The poppy soundtrack, stoic lead, and fairy tale romance from his previous Gosling-starring flick is nowhere to be found in this Bangkok-set crime picture. The Bronson director could have gone on to make a spiritual sequel to Drive, in terms of trying to recapture that success, but instead he has made a movie that appeals to an almost entirely different sensibility. Refn never even considered exploring the same territory. “I was going to make this movie before Drive, so there wasn’t any thought of doing that,” he explains. Basically, there was no time for thought, either. Refn is one fast worker, and according to him, it shows onscreen. “I did Bronson and Valhalla Rising back-to-back, and I did the same with Drive and Only God Forgives. I’m sure they have effects on the extremes of both movies.”

read more...

nicolas-winding-refn-directs-ryan-gosling-in-drive

While doing press for Valhalla Rising, Danish American filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn announced that the film marked a new stage in his career. After the manic, Brechtian anti-biopic Bronson; the sprawling Pusher trilogy that’s more Gaspar Noe than Gaspar Noe; and the little-seen Fear X, Refn began a series of films about quiet, enigmatic supermen. He continued this focus with Drive, his commercial breakthrough, and has now followed it up with Only God Forgives, which sees a VOD and limited theatrical release this Friday. While Bronson and the first Pusher film were justifiably celebrated, it’s this current stage of his career that has, for many, defined what “a Nicolas Winding Refn film” means: atmospheric, ultra-violent, deliberately paced, heavy on style. Refn is one of the strangest young auteurs working today, in terms of both his esoteric films and his occasionally bizarre interviews. And his career is only going to get more interesting: his vast slate of possible subsequent projects that include a Logan’s Run remake, a Wonder Woman movie, an adaptation of the comic Button Man, a prequel to the 80s midnight flick Maniac Cop, and an erotic horror film titled I Walk With the Dead. So while he’s on the up and up, here’s some free advice (for fans and filmmakers alike) from the man responsible for Mads Mikkelsen’s one eye, Tom Hardy’s curly mustache, and “The Gosling Stare.”

read more...

Only God Forgives Refn

Nicolas Winding Refn’s Only God Forgives, is a gorgeously photographed series of fascinating contradictions. Ryan Gosling is very much his character from Drive, but he’s also wildly different. There’s also an antagonist who simultaneously represents both god and the devil, and in terms of mainstream appeal, Drive is a Marvel film compared to Only God Forgives. Yet the latter features Refn’s most diabolical super villain in Kristin Scott Thomas. Contradictions. So it seemed natural that my interview with Refn and composer Cliff Martinez took place in a trendy bar in downtown Austin that began life as a seedy brothel. Ornate floral wallpaper looked down on overstuffed booths, adding a kind of Victorian flourish to a space that saw three decades worth of illegal happy endings. It seemed appropriate, and it also wasn’t surprising when more contradictions came pouring out.

read more...

Only God Forgives

Editor’s Note: This review appeared as part of our Cannes 2013 coverage. Seeing as Only God Forgives is making its way into theaters in the U.S. this week, we are republishing it for your reading pleasure. Arguably the most anticipated film of this year’s Cannes Film Festival is one that on the face of it, though In Competition, has little chance of scooping the Palme D’Or by virtue of subject matter alone. Only God Forgives, the latest film from Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn, follows the filmmaker’s hugely popular 2011 Cannes In Competition entry Drive (which scooped Refn the Best Director award), yet is a baffling follow-up that evoked strongly divided responses at this morning’s jam-packed press screening.

read more...

ogf

Anyone who has seen the trailer for Only God Forgives knows that director Nicolas Winding Refn’s latest promises to take viewers on a wild, intense ride through the back alleys of Thailand. Refn once again teams up with Ryan Gosling, who plays soft-spoken drug runner Julian, and composer Cliff Martinez to create a stylized and violent world that is nothing short of a living nightmare. Martinez creates a layered score that incorporates kinetic electronic elements with bold organs and Asian instrumentation that work perfectly with the sound design and sparse dialogue (a Refn favorite, these days anyway.) I spoke with Martinez about constructing such a commanding score, working with Refn again, unavoidable Drive influences, and the challenge of creating music that actually helps tell the story rather than just accent it.

read more...

Only God Forgives

The worst thing about the Only God Forgives trailer is the “Coming Soon” tag at the end. This thing needs a US release date quick or Nicolas Winding Refn and Ryan Gosling‘s fans are going to riot in the street. I’ll be at the front of the pack participating in some anarchy with whatever I can grab. In the movie, Gosling plays a gangster feuding with a man of the law (Vithaya Pansringarm) in the mean streets of Bangkok. To settle the score, the two men agree to take the fight into the ring. The trailer itself is aggressively sensual. Entire scenes bathed in red. A dreamy music-box-based song to go along with all the violence being shown. It also looks like it might have the best Kristin Scott Thomas performance since Tell No One.  Check it out for yourself:

read more...

Nicolas Winding Refn

Looks like fans of 1980′s crime television series The Equalizer, Denzel Washington, and Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn are going to have to recalibrate their expectations, as the helmer has just dropped out of the Washington-starring feature adaptation of the show. Collider exclusively reports that “the deal fell apart at the last minute due to unknown reasons,” though it seems fair to suspect that scheduling could be an issue – Sony still wants to shoot the film in May, and Refn will surely be busy promoting his Only God Forgives around that time (the film opens on May 23) and gearing up for both his Logan’s Run remake and Button Man adaptation. Washington signed up for the part way back in July, with Refn coming on board just last month. Washington remains attached to the project, and Sony is reportedly looking for a new helmer to get the project in front of cameras this spring. Like the show, the film will focus on Robert McCall (Washington), a retired intelligence agent who dabbles in private eye work, with a special flair for “equalizing” the odds for clients who come to him with complicated problems. The film features a script by Richard Wenk, who is currently working on that Grayskull script and most recently penned The Expendables 2. Wenk also, amusingly enough, co-produced The Girl Next Door and directed one episode of the Sweet Valley High television show back in the ’90s. Suddenly, we’re insanely excited about his Equalizer.

read more...

Only God Forgives Header

It’s in French, and it’s only 20 seconds, but we take what we can get when it comes to anything Nicolas Winding Refn has to show. Plus, we have several translation programs, so we fear no French. Refn’s latest — as you probably know — shows him shoving Ryan Gosling into a violent world again, only this time he’s playing a gangster who seeks to settle a score with Bangkok policeman inside a Thai boxing ring. So far, all the marketing has featured black eyes and bruises, and it doesn’t appear as if the swelling will go down anytime soon. Check out this brief tease for yourself:

read more...

Only God Forgives promo

This one pretty much speaks for itself. Over at The Film Stage, a reader sent over a fresh look at Ryan Gosling in Nicolas Winding Refn‘s Only God Forgives and damn if it doesn’t sting. Much like their previous effort together, Drive, Refn doesn’t seem afraid to muss up his pretty boy star, and Gosling seems just fine rolling with the punches. Details on the project are scarce, but we know it centers on a Bangkok police lieutenant and a gangster who decide to “settle their differences” the safe way – with a Thai boxing match. The film is expected to arrive in 2013.

read more...

Ryan Gosling with Nicolas Winding Refn

According to Variety’s Justin Kroll, Ryan Gosling won’t be involved in Nicolas Winding Refn‘s remake of Logan’s Run after all. It was set to be the third collaboration between the pair following Drive and the forthcoming Only God Forgives, but now the project – which is set up over at Warners – is in need of a lead. There’s not much information here, so trying to come up with a reason would be pure speculation, although Gosling is planning on directing for the first time with How to Catch a Monster in just a few months, so it could be a simple scheduling issue. The original, based off the novel by William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson, told the story of a future that’s (surprise) Dystopian in nature. Michael York played Logan 5, an enforcer charged with killing people who have hit their 30th birthday but have refused a ceremony called “Carrousel” which might be a chance at reincarnation or a front for pure population control. When they run, he chases them down. While the original film is a lot of depressing fun, a remake wouldn’t be such a bad prospect, especially with an insane person like Refn at the wheel. With Gosling gone, though, it seems all but certain that someone like Colin Farrell will fill the position. Did it just get more generic, or could a new actor bring an even better angle to the project?

read more...

Seeing as stills are starting to come out for Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn’s latest project, Only God Forgives, one can only assume that work on that film is moving along swimmingly and it’s probably time to start wondering about what he’s going to do next. If the 24-hour news cycle is good for anything, it’s promoting constant speculation. This time, however, the speculation has the benefit of not being completely unfounded. Deadline Køge is reporting that Refn is currently in negotiations with Dreamworks to helm Button Man, an adaptation of a graphic novel called “Button Man: The Killing Game” that was written by Judge Dredd creator John Wagner. The comic book follows the misadventures of professional killer Harry Exton, who is hired to take part in a game where millionaires have trained assassins battle each other to the death for their amusement. It’s like The Hunger Games, only better because the people trying to kill each other are actually good at it and don’t have to resort to sicking bees on each other and tricking each other into eating berries. Of course, there’s a wrinkle in the story, and it comes when Exton decides that he doesn’t want to be a gladiator anymore and has to find a way to get himself out of the games.

read more...

Only God Forgives Ryan Gosling

Nicolas Winding Refn‘s forthcoming Only God Forgives is the story of a director in search of cool toys to collect, but in front of the cameras, it’s the tale of a policeman in Bangkok getting into a Thai boxing ring with a notorious gangster. It stars Ryan Gosling, Kristen Scott Thomas, Yayaying and Vithaya Pansringarm, and by the looks of these first images, it looks like the bruises are still fresh.

read more...

Looks like Hollywood has picked their next big action director, and they’re not wasting much time setting him up with his next project. Daniel Espinosa likely made Universal very happy with his first English-language film, Safe House, which has already grossed $135m, and now Warner Bros. wants in on what the Snabba Cash helmer is dishing out. The studio is reportedly in negotiations for Espinosa to direct The Outsider, “a gritty action film” that centers on “a POW in Osaka in WWII who goes to work for the Yakuza.” Grit? Action? Bad people? Yup, that’s Espinosa’s wheelhouse. The script’s been written by newcomer Andrew Baldwin, and he comes with his very own pedigree. While Baldwin hasn’t seen one of his scripts hit the screen yet, he’s a hot commodity in Hollywood. Last October, he was hired on to rewrite the Logan’s Run remake that Nicolas Winding Refn and Ryan Gosling have been all over, and he’s been on the Black List twice – once with The Outsider in 2011 and once with The West Is Dead in 2008. When it appeared on the Black List, the logline for the film read “In post World War II Japan, an American former prisoner-of-war rises in the yakuza,” so yeah, that’s about what we’ve got for now.

read more...

Drive Elevator Scene: The Scene of 2011

In our final 2011 edition of Scenes We Love, a column you’ll be seeing a lot more of in the coming year, we’d like to celebrate the scene that, in our humble opinion, was the definitive and most memorable scene of the entire year. A great deal of care and collaboration went into the choosing of this winner, with every FSR staff writer first submitting nominations then a fierce round of voting. In my final thoughts, I’ll reveal the runners up. But for now, lets just enjoy the majesty of a moment that is all at once romantic and violent, sweet and salty, quiet and louder than a bomb.

read more...

Culture Warrior

Usually I’m quite cynical about end-of-year lists, as they demand a forced encapsulation of an arbitrary block of time that is not yet over into something simplified. I typically find end-of-year lists fun, but rarely useful. But 2011 is different. As Scott Tobias pointed out, while “quiet,” this was a surprisingly strong year for interesting and risk-taking films. What’s most interesting has been the variety: barely anything has emerged as a leading contender that tops either critics’ lists or dominates awards buzz. Quite honestly, at the end of 2010 I struggled to find compelling topics, trends, and events to define the year in cinema. The final days of 2011 brought a quite opposite struggle, for this year’s surprising glut of interesting and disparate films spoke to one another in a way that makes it difficult to isolate any of the year’s significant works. Arguments in the critical community actually led to insightful points as they addressed essential questions of what it means to be a filmgoer and a cinephile. Mainstream Hollywood machine-work and limited release arthouse fare defied expectations in several directions. New stars arose. Tired Hollywood rituals and ostensibly reliable technologies both met new breaking points. “2011” hangs over this year in cinema, and the interaction between the films – and the events and conversations that surrounded them – makes this year’s offerings particular to their time and subject to their context. This is what I took away from this surprising year:

read more...

Everyone’s complained about misleading and overly spoilerific trailers at one point or another. They’re all annoying, but they’re trailers. We deal with them. Well, at least that used to be the case. Now one member of society who’s so fed up with studios selling their movies in a “bait-and-switch” fashion is taking this very, very serious matter to where it belongs: the justice system! What film provoked her to take such an action? None other than FilmDistrict’s critical and fanboy darling, Drive. Sarah Deming has filed a lawsuit — which will soon be a class action lawsuit, apparently — against FilmDistrict and the theater she viewed the film at, Emagine Novi. To her great disappointment, the movie wasn’t Fast and Furious enough.

read more...

Culture Warrior

The month of September is typically regarded as one of the least exciting and least eventful in the calendar year. It’s something of an interval month, a strange in-between phase sandwiched in the middle of summer Hollywood blockbusters and the “quality” flicks and holiday programming of the fall. In strictly monetary terms, it’s the most underperforming month of the year, and has even been beaten by the desolate burial ground that is January in terms of event-style opening weekends. But this may ultimately be a good thing. In fact, if future Septembers continue to exhibit the same patterns as this month, the time of the year in which schools go back in session and you can no longer wear all-white may prove to be one of the most interesting and exciting months on the wide-release calendar.

read more...

It’s difficult to walk away from Drive and not feel affected – whether by the performances, the style, the music or the overall feel of the film. Simply put: it leaves an impression. After watching Drive the first time (and the second), I could not get the distinct music and sound of the film out of my head. And I did not want to. From the moment the neon pink, italicized credits begin and the music kicks in, you know you are about to be taken on a ride. The catchy 1980s synth-pop is interwoven with an almost mellow, but never quite calming, score that works to highlight the quieter moments while keeping the tension in the darker ones. I got the chance to chat with Drive’s composer, Cliff Martinez, about the process of putting together his hypnotic score, working with director Nicolas Winding Refn, and some of his more surprising influences.

read more...
NEXT PAGE  
Twitter button
Facebook button
Google+ button
RSS feed

published: 04.17.2014
B-
published: 04.16.2014
B+
published: 04.16.2014
C-
published: 04.16.2014
B-

Listen to Junkfood Cinema
Some movie websites serve the consumer. Some serve the industry. At Film School Rejects, we serve at the pleasure of the connoisseur. We provide the best reviews, interviews and features to millions of dedicated movie fans who know what they love and love what they know. Because we, like you, simply love the art of the moving picture.
SXSW 2014
Game of Thrones reviews
Got a Tip? Send it here:
editors@filmschoolrejects.com
Publisher:
Neil Miller
Managing Editor:
Scott Beggs
Associate Editors:
Rob Hunter
Kate Erbland
Christopher Campbell
All Rights Reserved © 2006-2014 Reject Media, LLC | Privacy Policy | Design & Development by Face3