Nicolas Winding Refn is a Danish film director, screenwriter, and producer. He has become known for his dark style of filmmaking and his use of violence in many of his films.

He is also known for working with actor Ryan Gosling on several projects, including the films Drive and Only God Forgives.

Nicolas Winding Refn is a good director, who uses the camera in interesting and innovative ways, to create a unique cinematic style.

This is most apparent in his use of framing and colors.

The way he frames characters is very distinctive and he has some great techniques that he uses in all of his films. Refn also uses color in his films to convey emotions, as well as to create stunning visuals.

Refn’s most notable technique is his use of negative space and framing.

He often creates scenes with characters positioned in the middle of the frame, and lots of blackness around them, or with the character up against one side of the frame and a lot of negative space on the other side.

Best Nicolas Winding Refn Movies

Let’s take a look at the best Nicolas Winding Refn movies.

Only God Forgives (2013)

Only God Forgives is a polarizing film that will leave viewers either mesmerized or utterly confused.

Director Nicolas Winding Refn’s follow-up to his critically acclaimed film Drive is a slow-burning, neon-lit, and ultra-violent journey that plunges audiences into a world of moral ambiguity and existential dread.

Set in the seedy underbelly of Bangkok’s criminal underworld, the film follows Julian (Ryan Gosling), a drug dealer who runs a boxing club as a front for his illicit activities.

When his brother is brutally murdered, Julian and his mother (Kristin Scott Thomas) seek revenge against the killer, a sadistic police officer known as Chang (Vithaya Pansringarm).

At its core, Only God Forgives is a meditation on masculinity, violence, and redemption. The film is beautifully shot, with Refn’s signature style of long takes, striking compositions, and hypnotic sound design. Gosling delivers a restrained and brooding performance, balancing Julian’s inner turmoil and outward stoicism.

Scott Thomas is a standout as the manipulative and domineering mother, delivering some of the film’s memorable lines.

However, the film’s deliberate pacing, sparse dialogue, and graphic violence make it a difficult watch for some viewers.

   

The characters are intentionally unlikable, and the themes are heavy-handed at times. Additionally, the depiction of Thailand and its people has been criticized for perpetuating harmful stereotypes.

Only God Forgives
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Ryan Gosling, Kristin Scott Thomas, Tom Burke (Actors)
  • Nicolas Winding Refn (Director) - Nicolas Winding Refn (Writer) - Lene Børglum (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

Fear X (2003)

Fear X is a haunting thriller that delves into the psyche of grief and obsession. John Turturro delivers a captivating performance as Harry, a mall security guard who becomes consumed with finding his wife’s killer.

The film is slow-paced and atmospheric, building tension through its eerie score and unsettling visuals.

The sparse dialogue and minimalistic approach to storytelling allow for a deeper exploration of Harry’s emotional turmoil.

The ending leave some viewers unsatisfied, but overall Fear X is a thought-provoking and haunting film that lingers long after the credits roll.

Fear X
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • John Turturro, Deborah Kara Unger, Stephen McIntyre (Actors)
  • Nicolas Winding Refn (Director) - Hubert Selby Jr. (Writer) - Henrik Danstrup (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

Valhalla Rising (2009)

“Valhalla Rising” is a brutal and enigmatic journey through the depths of violence and spirituality.

Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, the film follows a mute warrior named One-Eye, played with ferocity by Mads Mikkelsen as escapes captivity joins of Vikings on a quest to the Holy Land.

The cinematography is stunning, with the Scottish landscape serving as a bleak and desolate backdrop to the blood-soaked action.

The score, composed by Peter Peter and Peter Kyed, is haunting and atmospheric, adding to the sense of unease that permeates the entire film.

Refn’s direction is masterful, with long stretches of silence punctuated by sudden bursts of violence that are as shocking as they are beautiful.

The film’s ending is ambiguous and open to interpretation, leaving the viewer with a sense of unease that lingers long after the credits roll.

“Valhalla Rising” is not for the faint of heart, but for those willing to take the journey, it is a visceral and unforgettable experience.

Valhalla Rising
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Andrew Flanagan, Mads Mikkelsen, Maarten Stevenson (Actors)
  • Nicholas Winding Refn (Director) - Nicholas Winding Refn (Writer) - Johnny Andersen (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

   

The Neon Demon (2016)

Director Nicolas Winding Refn’s “The Neon Demon” is a visually stunning but deeply disturbing film that explores the dark side of the cut-throat world of modeling.

Starring Elle Fanning as the young and innocent Jesse, the film takes us on a surreal journey through the twisted and dangerous world of Los Angeles’ fashion industry.

From the very first scene, Refn’s mastery of cinematography is on full display, with bold color choices and striking visuals that are both beautiful and unsettling.

The film’s score, composed by Cliff Martinez, is equally impressive, adding another layer of intensity to the already tense atmosphere.

Fanning delivers a strong performance as the naive and ambitious Jesse, and is supported by a talented cast including Jena Malone, Keanu Reeves, and Christina Hendricks.

However, it is the film’s villains, played by Abbey Lee and Bella Heathcote, who truly steal the show with their chilling performances as jealous and ruthless models.

While “The Neon Demon” is undeniably a work of art, it is not for the faint of heart.

The film contains graphic violence, disturbing imagery, and themes of sexual assault and cannibalism.

It is a challenging and polarizing piece of cinema that will leave you feeling both mesmerized and disturbed.

   
Valhalla Rising
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Andrew Flanagan, Mads Mikkelsen, Maarten Stevenson (Actors)
  • Nicholas Winding Refn (Director) - Nicholas Winding Refn (Writer) - Johnny Andersen (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

 

Best Nicolas Winding Refn Movies

Who Is nicolas winding refn?

Nicolas Winding Refn, director of films such as the Pusher trilogy, Drive, Only God Forgives and The Neon Demon, is a Danish filmmaker best known for his visual style.

His films are also known for containing slow-motion violence and philosophical discussions on existentialism.

Refn made his directorial debut with the Danish crime film Pusher (1996), which received a direct-to-video release in the United States in 1997. The original Pusher film has spawned two sequels, with both sequels being released in Denmark in 2004 and 2005, respectively.

In 2008, Refn directed the English-language film Bronson, a semi-fictionalized biopic of British criminal Michael Gordon Peterson, who was known as Charles Bronson. Refn later made the documentaries Gambler (2010) and My Life Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn (2014).

 

 

Bleeder (1999)

Bleeder is a gritty Danish film that delivers a brutal and unflinching look at the lives of two friends, Leo and Lenny, as they navigate the underbelly of Copenhagen’s criminal underworld.

The film is directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, who is known for his raw and visceral style, and he does not disappoint with Bleeder.

The performances in this film are outstanding, with Kim Bodnia delivering a haunting portrayal of Leo, a man consumed by his own demons.

Mads Mikkelsen also shines as Lenny, a man struggling to come to terms with his own violent tendencies.

The chemistry between the two actors is palpable, and their relationship is both compelling and disturbing.

The cinematography in Bleeder is stunning, with Refn employing a mix of handheld and static shots to create a sense of immediacy and intimacy.

The use of color, particularly the reds and blues, is also striking and adds to the film’s overall sense of unease.

While Bleeder is not an easy watch, it is a film that will stay with you long after the credits roll.

It is a testament to Refn’s skill as a filmmaker that he is able to create such a visceral and powerful experience with such a small budget.

The Descendant (AKA:Bleeders)
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Rutger Hauer, Roy Dupuis, Kristin Lehman (Actors)
  • Peter Svatek (Director) - Charles Adair (Writer) - Julie Allan (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

Bronson (2008)

Bronson is a wild ride through the life of Britain’s most notorious prisoner, Michael Peterson, also known as Charles Bronson.

Tom Hardy delivers a powerhouse performance as the titular character, capturing the intensity and unpredictability of this complex and troubled man.

Director Winding Refn employs a stylized approach to the film, using a mix of surreal imagery and hyper-violent action to create a visceral experience for the viewer.

The film’s soundtrack is also worth noting, featuring tracks from artists like Pet Shop Boys and New Order that perfectly capture the era and mood of the story.

While the film can be difficult to watch at times due to its graphic violence and unsettling subject matter, it is undeniably compelling and showcases Hardy’s incredible range as an actor.

Bronson
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Tom Hardy, Kelly Adams, Luing Andrews (Actors)
  • Nicolas Winding Refn (Director) - Suzanne Alizart (Producer)
  • Audience Rating: R (Restricted)

With Blood on My Hands: Pusher II (2004)

“Pusher II is a gritty and intense crime drama that delves deep into the seedy underbelly of Copenhagen’s criminal underworld.

The film follows the story of Tonny, a small-time crook and drug addict struggling to find his place in a world that seems to have given up on him.

Mads Mikkelsen delivers a powerhouse performance as Tonny, showcasing his incredible range as an actor.

His portrayal of a man at the end of his rope is both heartbreaking and captivating, drawing the audience in and holding them until the very end.

Director Nicolas Winding Refn’s signature style is on full display here, with stunning cinematography and a haunting score that add to the film’s overall atmosphere of despair and desperation.

The pacing is slow at times, but it serves to build tension and heighten the sense of impending doom that hangs over the characters.

With Blood on My Hands: Pusher II is not for the faint of heart, but for fans of gritty crime dramas and masterful performances, this is a must-see film.”

Pusher II: With Blood on My Hands
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Mads Mikkelsen, Jesper Salomonsen, Leif Sylvester (Actors)
  • Nicolas Winding Refn (Director) - Nicolas Winding Refn (Writer) - Magnolia Pictures (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

Pusher (1996)

Pusher is a gritty Danish crime thriller that delivers a raw and unapologetic look into the world of drug dealing.

The film follows Frank, a small-time drug dealer finds himself in a downward spiral when a drug deal goes wrong and he ends up owing a dangerous criminal a large sum of money.

The acting in this film is top-notch, with Kim Bodnia delivering a standout performance as the desperate and conflicted Frank.

The supporting cast, including Mads Mikkelsen in an early role, also deliver strong performances that add to the film’s authenticity.

The direction and cinematography are equally impressive, with the use of handheld cameras and natural lighting adding to the film’s gritty and realistic feel.

The pacing is relentless, with tension and suspense building throughout the film until the explosive and satisfying conclusion.

Pusher
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Kim Bodnia, Mads Mikkelsen, Zlatko Burić (Actors)
  • Nicolas Winding Refn (Director) - Nicolas Winding Refn (Writer) - Henrik Danstrup (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

Drive (2011)

“Drive” is a cinematic masterpiece that combines stunning visuals, a gripping storyline, and an incredible performance by Ryan Gosling.

The movie follows a nameless Hollywood stunt driver who moonlights as a getaway driver for criminals. Gosling’s character is enigmatic, mysterious, and almost wordless, yet he manages to convey a raw and intense emotion that captivates the audience from start to finish.

The film’s direction by Nicolas Winding Refn is exceptional, with each shot carefully crafted to create a moody, atmospheric tone that perfectly complements the story.

The use of music is also noteworthy, with the synth-heavy soundtrack adding an extra layer of tension and drama.

Despite its action-packed moments, “Drive” is ultimately a character-driven story, with the relationships between the characters playing a crucial role.

Carey Mulligan’s portrayal of Irene, the driver’s love interest, is subtle and nuanced, and her chemistry with Gosling is palpable.

Drive
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Ralph Lawler, Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan (Actors)
  • Nicolas Winding Refn (Director) - Hossein Amini (Writer) - Marc Platt (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

 

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