Saturday, June 30, 2012


2011, US, directed by Nicholas Winding Refn

Something of a tightrope act, to be sure, Nicholas Winding Refn's film almost courts accusations of pretentiousness, with its unnamed central character, a Hawksian figure without the laconic dialogue, and the slow-burn pacing that eventually erupts into sustained and brutal violence. Ryan Gosling is terrific, remaining absolutely buttoned-down and conveying in the process a deeply wounded psyche with his own moral code, a kind of modern-day Los Angeles ronin with a rather old-fashioned sense of chivalry. Refn makes full use of his frame, his characters often situated at extremes of the screen, inviting the eye to explore the empty spaces and reinforcing the sense that these characters are too flawed to be able to bridge the gaps that separate them in any sustained fashion.

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Boston, Massachusetts, United States