“Drive” may have brought director Nicolas Winding Refn the most mainstream attention of his career, but it’s easy to forget that his first English-language breakthrough was actually 2008’s “Bronson.” It was the first film Refn made after completing his “Pusher” trilogy in 2005, and in many ways, it felt like Refn was entering a new, more stylistically bold phase of his career. This phase would be further exemplified by his subsequent work, especially with his last film “Only God Forgives.”
While the most memorable aspect of “Bronson” is easily Tom Hardy‘s powerhouse, star-making performance, a recent video essay from filmmaker/essayist Sean Pettis sheds light on just how rich this film is in both its attention to detail and symbolism. Whether it’s through the use of static shots, foreshadowing, or even vertical lines, which can be seen in the background of several shots, the essay effectively demonstrates how Refn was able to reinforce the movie’s themes from a visual standpoint.
Some of the analysis may be reaching just a little bit, but it’s still important to be reminded that there really is a great amount of substance behind Refn’s highly stylized films. Check it out below. [35MM]