"One constant theme of the films which Refn has written and directed is the distrust of authority and the movement away from artificial hierarchies. The one who officially commands, in Refn’s films, is nearly always a hollow figure, unworthy of the title he holds; while the real hero is thwarted, kept from power, placed in a position of having to revolt, and sometimes martyred in the end. One of the most important things about Refn is that he is definitely committed to bringing back to movies a credible and mature vision of heroism—in which the hero generally has no place in the world for which he fights and dies. In Refn’s films, then, we will find that the hero is not a social construct, an aggregate of fixed social values, but an entity outside of and perhaps above society, or, rather, his own epoch.

This idea is not new, but Refn’s interest in it runs somewhat against the grain of what we have come to expect from recent action cinema, for example. These are not the typical flawed, shabby heroes who adapt to difficult times; Refn’s heroes have an exacting and almost mythic superiority, forcing them to stand alone in life. This kind of hero appears in Fear X, Bronson, Valhalla Rising, Drive and Only God Forgives. What makes them heroic is that they demand for chaos to take on a moral shape and order. Indeed, behind the idea of heroism are issues of moral right and wrong which Refn claims have become taboo in current Western society. He has said that his films are “about consequences, how every day, everything is consequences. You come out of your front door, you either walk this way or that way, and your decision has consequences. And I think the biggest fear in the West is confronting that idea.”

- excerpted from NICOLAS WINDING REFN AND THE VIOLENCE OF ART

More...

Read. Nicolas Winding Refn and the Violence of Art: A Critical Study of the Films. "Nicolas Winding Refn has emerged as a uniquely talented international filmmaker with an eye for visceral, iconic images. A 21st century mythmaker from his cult Pusher trilogy to the award-winning Drive and Only God Forgives, Refn infuses a sophisticated avant-garde sensibility with the grit of exploitation cinema. This book relates Refn's films to the ideas of Nietzsche, Canetti, Blanchot and others, and to aesthetic theory in general. It also asks why the West has become a largely artificial society, unable to generate new communal mythologies."

Watch. Too Old to Die Young. "In one tragic night, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputy Martin Jones's life is blown apart, and he is forced into a deadly underground of Cartel soldiers, Yakuza assassins, and mysterious vigilantes. Soon he finds himself lost on a surreal odyssey of murder, mysticism and vengeance, as his past sins close in on him. "

And, of course, some music.

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