Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Nicolas Winding Refn: Bronson (2008) and Valhalla Rising (2009)

Back in May, Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn won the Best Director prize for his new film Drive, starring Ryan Gossling. Two of his previous films are currently streaming on Netflix Watch Instantly, Bronson and Valhalla Rising.

Of the two I've seen Bronson and I hope to catch Valhalla Rising this week.  Bronson doesn't always work dramatically (it gets a bit repetitive as Bronson continuously confronts his jailors), but Refn displays a unique and vivid visual style well worth watching.  But perhaps the best reason to check it out is to watch Tom Hardy's fantastically maniacal performance as Bronson, which provides an interesting preview of what might come with Hardy's role as Bane in the upcoming The Dark Knight Rises.

Bronson (Nicolas Winding Refn, UK, 2008, 92 minutes)
Netflix: Nicolas Winding Refn's vivid and unflinching biopic delves into the life of Britain's most notorious prisoner, Charlie Bronson (Tom Hardy) -- who's been jailed for nearly 35 years -- and attempts to dissect the real man behind the deranged persona. While Bronson's primary ambition was to be famous, he became a celebrity of sorts as a criminal who seized myriad opportunities to demonstrate extreme and terrorizing savagery. Netflix link.

Valhalla Rising (Nicolas Winding Refn, UK/Denmark, 2009, 92 minutes)
Netflix: After years of slavery, Viking warrior One-Eye (Mads Mikkelsen) escapes from his captors and seeks refuge on a Norse ship bound for his homeland. When a storm throws them off course, the crew lands at a mysterious realm inhabited by invisible demons. As the bloodthirsty creatures claim one sailor after another, One-Eye rediscovers his fighting spirit but begins to wonder if they have arrived in Jerusalem or someplace much more sinister. Netflix link.

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