Festival de Cannes 70: Nicolas Winding Refn, 2011

A sunny shout-out to 70 winners at the Cannes Film Festival to celebrate the 70th event which is just around the corner – in no particular order.

Once upon a time I felt I had exhausted my merits of Nicolas Winding Refn, both in my written form, and that personal praise I gave him for his work on directing Drive. I will, though, never stop singing the praises of that movie. So perfectly stylish and refreshingly cool, even in its very dark and violent moments. You can see the director’s blueprint all over the movie, via the edgy, yet very different, performances from main actors (Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Albert Brooks in particular), to the shifts in movement and pace. I mean, at times it almost lingers so much it comes to a complete halt, but is not for one second tedious or uninteresting. Even the electronic music Refn uses sits right beside the chugging tone of the film’s narrative, and could have been so out of place in anyone else’s grip – but is a perfect companion to it. However, then came the disappointing reception of Only God Forgives – I say disappointing when I perhaps means outrage. Refn’s style is there for all to see, but his impact and motives had vanished. By the time the superior, but hugely flawed, Neon Demon came about, his fan-base was already diminishing and he may well be scrambling from the mud.

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