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Poll

Refn is...

A total hack
0 (0%)
A misunderstood genius
1 (10%)
A little bit of both
8 (80%)
lol politics
0 (0%)
I am a plebe and have not seen any of his films
1 (10%)

Total Members Voted: 10

Author Topic: Refn: Genius or Complete Hack?  (Read 292 times)

Diego Tutweiller

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Refn: Genius or Complete Hack?
« on: August 06, 2016, 02:01:59 pm »
In honor of The Neon Demon. I'm having trouble deciding myself. Let's hear some opinions.

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James Orenthal Cutler

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Re: Refn: Genius or Complete Hack?
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2016, 02:12:50 pm »
So I just found out Bryan Fuller is developing a Star Trek revival series.  Finally, something I can get behind.

John Tyler

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Re: Refn: Genius or Complete Hack?
« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2016, 02:14:34 pm »
I've only seen The Neon Demon (7/10), Drive (10/10), and Only God Forgives (4/10).

James Orenthal Cutler

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Re: Refn: Genius or Complete Hack?
« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2016, 02:22:54 pm »
I've only seen The Neon Demon (7/10), Drive (10/10), and Only God Forgives (4/10).

Bronson: 100/10

Valhalla Rising: It was a good nihilistic view on life back during the Crusades, despite being historically inaccurate as to when the Crusades actually began/10

OGF: 9/10

Drive: Not gonna score/10

Pusher: 5/10

And that's it. 

John Tyler

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Re: Refn: Genius or Complete Hack?
« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2016, 02:25:16 pm »
I've only seen The Neon Demon (7/10), Drive (10/10), and Only God Forgives (4/10).

Bronson: 100/10

Valhalla Rising: It was a good nihilistic view on life back during the Crusades, despite being historically inaccurate as to when the Crusades actually began/10

OGF: 9/10

Drive: Not gonna score/10

Pusher: 5/10

And that's it. 
I still need to see Bronson, Valhalla Rising, and the Pusher films.

Diego Tutweiller

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Re: Refn: Genius or Complete Hack?
« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2016, 02:31:10 pm »
Bronson: 100/10

Valhalla Rising: It was a good nihilistic view on life back during the Crusades, despite being historically inaccurate as to when the Crusades actually began/10

OGF: 9/10

Drive: Not gonna score/10

Pusher: 5/10

And that's it.

I've gone through a few score shifts on Drive also. I'm really not sure what to make of that movie. As for OGF... I'm warming up to it. When it's good, it's great, and when it's bad, it's just hilarious. Amazing moviegoing experience.

Hated Valhalla Rising, though.

Gold Jeffblum

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Re: Refn: Genius or Complete Hack?
« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2016, 02:37:18 pm »
Bronson is awesome. I do not like ah Valhalla Rising at all. I should watch Drive again.

Catbus!

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Re: Refn: Genius or Complete Hack?
« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2016, 02:40:35 pm »
Bronson was excellent, but would it have been near what it was with anyone other than Hardy?
Valhalla Rising as above, but replace Hardy with Mickelsson, and excellent with fairly interesting.
While I enjoyed Drive, it would certainly be evidence for hackwork. Drive is just short of a shot for shot "homage" (read: pilfered concept) of the vastly superior Michael Mann film Thief. gosling's likable enough, and kinda creepy in the main role, but he cannot compete with Caan in his prime.

So I'd lean hack with flashes of brilliance and an excellent casting director.

James Orenthal Cutler

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Re: Refn: Genius or Complete Hack?
« Reply #8 on: August 06, 2016, 02:45:07 pm »
Bronson was excellent, but would it have been near what it was with anyone other than Hardy?
Valhalla Rising as above, but replace Hardy with Mickelsson, and excellent with fairly interesting.
While I enjoyed Drive, it would certainly be evidence for hackwork. Drive is just short of a shot for shot "homage" (read: pilfered concept) of the vastly superior Michael Mann film Thief. gosling's likable enough, and kinda creepy in the main role, but he cannot compete with Caan in his prime.

So I'd lean hack with flashes of brilliance and an excellent casting director.

Precisely this, minus the Theif comparison as I have yet to see Theif in full.  I think a lot of what I enjoyed of Valhalla Rising stems from Mikkelsen as a presence. And Bronson is mainly a centerpiece for Hardy's talents as an actor.  As with Valhalla Rising, the film lacks a story and a noticeable structure, which makes for chaotic filmmaking.  But it's centered down by such a great lead that I can't hate.  Also, Valhalla Rising has one of the most brutal deaths I've seen from a movie in a long time.

Diego Tutweiller

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Re: Refn: Genius or Complete Hack?
« Reply #9 on: August 06, 2016, 02:55:06 pm »
Bronson was excellent, but would it have been near what it was with anyone other than Hardy?
Valhalla Rising as above, but replace Hardy with Mickelsson, and excellent with fairly interesting.
While I enjoyed Drive, it would certainly be evidence for hackwork. Drive is just short of a shot for shot "homage" (read: pilfered concept) of the vastly superior Michael Mann film Thief. gosling's likable enough, and kinda creepy in the main role, but he cannot compete with Caan in his prime.

So I'd lean hack with flashes of brilliance and an excellent casting director.

Precisely this, minus the Theif comparison as I have yet to see Theif in full.  I think a lot of what I enjoyed of Valhalla Rising stems from Mikkelsen as a presence. And Bronson is mainly a centerpiece for Hardy's talents as an actor.  As with Valhalla Rising, the film lacks a story and a noticeable structure, which makes for chaotic filmmaking.  But it's centered down by such a great lead that I can't hate.  Also, Valhalla Rising has one of the most brutal deaths I've seen from a movie in a long time.

I'm okay with movie gore, but the stuff in Valhalla felt cruel and unnecessary. I get that it was supposed to take place during a brutal period in human history, but at some point during that film, I felt that Refn had crossed the line into gratuitousness-- more so than he did in either Drive or OGF. Was it required to still tell that story effectively? Not in my opinion. Was he just trying to shock and disgust his audience? Arguably.

This is why I'm conflicted on him as a filmmaker. Visually, he's clearly an expert. I don't know if I'd say genius, but he's certainly in the top five visual directors working today. And I know I'm not the first one to make this observation, but when it comes to story... he's a total letdown. Everything he does, from his visuals to his stories, seems geared towards giving the audience spectacle. Someone needs to tell him that it's okay to show a little restraint from time to time.
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James Orenthal Cutler

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Re: Refn: Genius or Complete Hack?
« Reply #10 on: August 06, 2016, 04:03:25 pm »
Bronson was excellent, but would it have been near what it was with anyone other than Hardy?
Valhalla Rising as above, but replace Hardy with Mickelsson, and excellent with fairly interesting.
While I enjoyed Drive, it would certainly be evidence for hackwork. Drive is just short of a shot for shot "homage" (read: pilfered concept) of the vastly superior Michael Mann film Thief. gosling's likable enough, and kinda creepy in the main role, but he cannot compete with Caan in his prime.

So I'd lean hack with flashes of brilliance and an excellent casting director.

Precisely this, minus the Theif comparison as I have yet to see Theif in full.  I think a lot of what I enjoyed of Valhalla Rising stems from Mikkelsen as a presence. And Bronson is mainly a centerpiece for Hardy's talents as an actor.  As with Valhalla Rising, the film lacks a story and a noticeable structure, which makes for chaotic filmmaking.  But it's centered down by such a great lead that I can't hate.  Also, Valhalla Rising has one of the most brutal deaths I've seen from a movie in a long time.

I'm okay with movie gore, but the stuff in Valhalla felt cruel and unnecessary. I get that it was supposed to take place during a brutal period in human history, but at some point during that film, I felt that Refn had crossed the line into gratuitousness-- more so than he did in either Drive or OGF. Was it required to still tell that story effectively? Not in my opinion. Was he just trying to shock and disgust his audience? Arguably.

This is why I'm conflicted on him as a filmmaker. Visually, he's clearly an expert. I don't know if I'd say genius, but he's certainly in the top five visual directors working today. And I know I'm not the first one to make this observation, but when it comes to story... he's a total letdown. Everything he does, from his visuals to his stories, seems geared towards giving the audience spectacle. Someone needs to tell him that it's okay to show a little restraint from time to time.

I think his unhinged filmmaking style is his best (and worst) quality.  Sure the violence at points seems gratuitous, but the way it was constructed sort of makes it much more visually appealing in a way for me.  When I think of scenes that usually stick out from a certain film, I usually think of a Refn scene.  He crafts imagery that sticks with you for a while.  The specific scene I was referring to in Valhalla Rising was the one where One Eye breaks the guy's neck with a chain.  No blood was shed, but the way it was shot, combined with the intensity of Mikkelsen's character and the image of the guy's head dangling from his neck made for such a striking scene. 

But in regards to his storytelling, I agree that it is also something he needs to work on in his films.  Although I do think Pusher was probably his best effort of storytelling, it also seems to be his weakest effort as I felt a certain sense of hollowness. 

CT_Sexybeast

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Re: Refn: Genius or Complete Hack?
« Reply #11 on: August 06, 2016, 05:02:28 pm »
I remember liking Drive quite a bit, but I need to rewatch it. Enjoyed Only God Forgives too, though it's no masterpiece. Guess I'd put him somewhere in the middle here. Like Diego said, he's certainly one of the best visual directors out there, but as a storyteller he leaves something to be desired. I definitely need to check out his other work though.

David Tanny

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Re: Refn: Genius or Complete Hack?
« Reply #12 on: September 13, 2016, 06:00:21 pm »
He makes cool movies. But unintentionally funny ones. They are so self serious and edgy that they come off as comedic at times. Which I'm fine with. The best example of this, of course, is Only God Forgives.
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CT_Sexybeast

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Re: Refn: Genius or Complete Hack?
« Reply #13 on: September 13, 2016, 06:10:23 pm »
He makes cool movies. But unintentionally funny ones. They are so self serious and edgy that they come off as comedic at times. Which I'm fine with. The best example of this, of course, is Only God Forgives.
Agreed. While I liked Only God Forgives as a serious film, the comedic elements made it far more enjoyable to watch.

David Tanny

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Re: Refn: Genius or Complete Hack?
« Reply #14 on: September 13, 2016, 06:18:27 pm »
Agreed. While I liked Only God Forgives as a serious film, the comedic elements made it far more enjoyable to watch.
It's very entertaining. I cannot take it seriously though. It's like someone gave a college film student a sizable budget and told him to go nuts.

CT_Sexybeast

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Re: Refn: Genius or Complete Hack?
« Reply #15 on: September 13, 2016, 06:21:15 pm »
Agreed. While I liked Only God Forgives as a serious film, the comedic elements made it far more enjoyable to watch.
It's very entertaining. I cannot take it seriously though. It's like someone gave a college film student a sizable budget and told him to go nuts.
Haha can't argue with that. Refn certainly lacks subtlety.

Diego Tutweiller

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Re: Refn: Genius or Complete Hack?
« Reply #16 on: September 30, 2016, 02:07:38 am »
Finally saw The Neon Demon. Leaning more towards "hack" now.

CT_Sexybeast

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Re: Refn: Genius or Complete Hack?
« Reply #17 on: September 30, 2016, 02:24:22 am »
Finally saw The Neon Demon. Leaning more towards "hack" now.
Better or worse than OGF?

Diego Tutweiller

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Re: Refn: Genius or Complete Hack?
« Reply #18 on: September 30, 2016, 02:43:25 am »
Finally saw The Neon Demon. Leaning more towards "hack" now.
Better or worse than OGF?

I don't know if "better" or "worse" really apply to Refn's movies. But for what it's worth, this movie had me laughing pretty hard. In terms of unintentional comedy, I don't know if it's as good as OGF (is anything?), but it's certainly worth a viewing. The ending in particular was gut-bustingly silly.

Some things were legitimately good. I liked the main character and (of course) the cinematography. The beginning was also shockingly dialogue-heavy for a Refn film. Like, people started talking five minutes into the movie. And there were even two or three actual conversations! It was very unusual. Anyway, I at least liked it more than Knight of Cups-- while both movies are bullshit attempts to give the impression of depth while saying nothing, The Neon Demon at least honed in on a specific aspect of society to criticize rather than painting everything with one sweeping brush. Plus it wasn't visually repulsive. So maybe you should see it.

 

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