Creator / Nicolas Winding Refn

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A Danish filmmaker who rose to prominence by writing and directing the Pusher trilogy. Prior to these films, the idea of a Danish crime film was laughable. Refn shattered that notion, crafting a trilogy that has become infamous for its bleak outlook and utterly uncompromising style. Born in 1970 to parents who worked in film, he moved to the United States when he was eleven and filmed Pusher when he was twenty-six. His films tend to focus on crime and violence, coupled with more existential themes like morality and spirituality. In recent years he seems to focus most of his films on larger-than-life masculine protagonists with violent tendencies.

Known in Denmark as "l'Enfant Sauvage".


Directing filmography:



Refn and his body of work provide example of:

  • Adorkable
  • Arch-Enemy: Of fellow Dane Lars von Trier, with Refn apologizing on behalf of Denmark for von Trier's Nazi comments at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, the former co-owner of von Trier's production company Zentropa defecting to co-own Refn's company Space Rocket Nation and alleging that von Trier tried to have sex with his wife. Appearently, Lars von Trier is oblivious to the feeling.
  • Berserk Button:
    • While attending an acting school in New York he had an argument with a teacher and threw a desk into a wall. He was expelled shortly after.
    • On the set of Pusher, he threw a pice of equipment on a crewmember who tried to wrap up a scene before Refn was done.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: In Bronson and Pusher II.
  • He Also Did: This director of stylish, transgressive films also directed two episodes of Agatha Christie's Marple, the Matthew Mc Conaughey-Lincoln commercials and a series of Danish beer commercials featuring actor.
  • Mean Character, Nice Actor: Despite his very controversial work, Refn is by all accounts Happily Married to actress Liv Corfixen, and is a dedicated family man.
  • Mind Screw
  • Motifs: Men making their own mythology: Bronson, Valhalla Rising, Drive and Only God Forgives.
  • One of Us: He is apparently interested in making a Batgirl movie.invoked
  • Production Posse: All his Danish films have been scored by Peter Kyed and punkrocker Peter Peter, since Drive he has has Cliff Martinez provide the music, since working on Miss Marple, Matthew Newman has been his editor, Morten Søborg & Larry Smith are his cinematographers of choice and as far as actors are conserned he frequently casts Mads Mikkelsen (5 films), Zlatko Buric (4 films), Levino Jensen (3 films) and Gordon Brown (3 films).
  • Rule of Cool/Rule of Symbolism
  • Signature Style:
    • Most of his films center on violence, criminality and mythological theme.
    • His soundtracks often include electronic music or punk rock. Notable pioneer of using '80s-throwback Synthwave music as a score.
    • Refn's films usually feature heavy use of contrast and primary colors, with at least one scene bathed in a single color of light, usually red. Refn does this because he is colorblind.
    • Behind the scenes, Refn usually shoots in chronological order because it's easier for him to think the film through. In the Pusher-films it was helpful because it also helped the non-actor supporting cast in their roles.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The music often contrasts to the events happening around it.
    • Only God Forgives often sets karaoke lounge music against shocking violence
    • For Pusher II, Refn consulting real Danish criminals and discovered that their taste in music was very uncool. For this reason, several scenes featuring powerful criminals have soundtracks of very lame, "eurotrashy" music.
  • Sunshine Noir: Many of his films feature nourish settings, graphic violence and focus on seedy antiheros, while often being set in sun-drenched surroundings.
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