Nicolas Winding Refn – Known for “Drive”, “Only God Forgives” & “The Neon Demon”
Nicolas Winding Refn is a Danish film director, screenwriter and producer. He moved to the United States in 1981 and is known for directing the crime dramas Bleeder (1999) and the Pusher films
(1996, 2004, 2005), the fictionalised biographical film Bronson (2008), the dramatic adventure film Valhalla Rising (2009), the neo-noir crime film Drive (2011), the thriller Only God Forgives (2013) and The Neon Demon (2016).
At 17, Nicolas moved back to his native Copenhagen to complete his high-school Education. After graduation, he swiftly flew back to New York, where he attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. However, this education was cut short when Nicolas threw a desk at a classroom wall and was expelled from the Academy. Consequently, he applied to the Danish Film School and was readily accepted.
Interesting facts: Frequently uses handheld cameras, the color red is frequently shown throughout all of his films, shoots all his films in chronological order and without rehearsal, Nicolas is color blind.
“Silence is cinema! We are so used to sounds; we’re always talked at. Silence is very rare for us for a long duration of time. It makes people very uncomfortable. But what it does, it also forces us to perceive on a much deeper level because we can no longer just be told things..Silence is like gold. It forces the audience to engage more, because they’re not being told what to think.” – Nicolas Winding Refn
A mysterious man who has multiple jobs as a garage mechanic, a Hollywood stuntman and a getaway driver seems to be trying to escape his shady past as he falls for his neighbor – whose husband is in prison and who’s looking after her child alone. Meanwhile, his garage mechanic boss is trying to set up a race team using gangland money, which implicates our driver as he is to be used as the race team’s main driver. Our hero gets more than he bargained for when he meets the man who is married to the woman he loves.
The film is an electric mixture of beautiful, lingering cinematography, a pulsating soundtrack, lean dialogue and short bursts of graphic, bloody violence. It’s tense and involving- almost impossible not to get immersed in. Nicolas Winding Refn is a Director to definitely keep a tab on. (imdb)
Interesting fact: Despite the driving story line, director Nicolas Winding Refn does not have any interest in cars. He doesn’t hold a driving license and has failed his driving test 8 times.
Only God Forgives (2013)
Bangkok. Ten years ago Julian killed a man and went on the run. Now he manages a Thai boxing club as a front for a drugs operation. Respected in the criminal underworld, deep inside, he feels empty. When Julian’s brother murders an underage prostitute, the police call on retired cop Chang – the Angel of Vengeance. Chang allows the father to kill his daughter’s murderer, then ‘restores order’ by chopping off the man’s right hand. Julian’s mother Crystal – the head of a powerful criminal organization – arrives in Bangkok to collect her son’s body. She dispatches Julian to find his killers and ‘raise hell’. (imdb)
Interesting fact: According to a Nicolas Winding Refn Q&A at Bam, the infamous insult “Cum Dumpster” was added into the movie after Refn (late one night) asked Ryan Gosling to come up with a list of the most vile words you could say to a woman. That word was at the top of his list.
The Neon Demon (2016)
The sixteen year-old aspiring model Jesse arrives in Los Angeles expecting to be a successful model. The aspirant photographer Dean takes photos for her portfolio and dates her. Jesse befriends the lesbian makeup artist Ruby and then the envious models Gigi and Sarah in a party. Meanwhile the agency considers Jesse beautiful with a “thing” that makes her different and she is sent to the professional photographer Jack. Jesse attracts he attention of the industry and has a successful beginning of career. But Ruby, Gigi and Sarah are capable to do anything to get her “thing”. (imdb)
Interesting fact: Originally, a crew member was going to break the mirror in the bathroom. However, when he hit the mirror with a heavy vase, nothing happened. Nicolas Winding Refn panicked. So in a last minute effort, he asked Abbey Lee to throw a trashcan into the mirror in one shot, hoping for the best. On the first take, the mirror broke in a hundred pieces. This is the shot that was used in the film.