I didn’t like Drive. There. I said it. I am a huge fan of Nicolas Winding Refn‘s Pusher series, Bronson, and Valhalla Rising (I still need to see Fear X), but Drive left me cold. So when Only God Forgives was released, I was curious to see which Refn would show up. Luckily, it was the auteur Refn, as Only God Forgives slotted perfectly into the visual and thematic explorations he had worked with in the previous films he also scripted. The weakness I felt Ryan Gosling brought to Drive were rectified in Only God Forgives, as he and Refn crafted an almost-perfect neo-noir. When I reviewed Only God Forgives back in 2013, I wrote: “This film doesn’t care if you don’t get it or hate it as it slides seamlessly from violent reality to guilt-ridden dream with an ease that would make Lost Highway-era David Lynch proud.” Little did I know, I was off-base. If the film didn’t care about viewers’ reactions, the director certainly did, as we now see in this 60-minute behind-the-scenes documentary shot by Refn’s wife Liv Corfixen as they spend six months in Bangkok with their two children, making the film. My Life Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn strikes a nice balance between home-movie quality peeks at family dynamics and a mostly-honest look at Refn’s filmmaking process. I say “mostly-honest” because at one point, Corfixen complains that he won’t let her film when there’s a crisis — which is a little disappointing. On the plus side, however, we do get to see some interesting and entertaining moments, such as when Refn recruits Gosling to attend a special screening of Drive in order to collect a cash payment of $40,000 American for the financially-strapped production. The documentary actually opens with Refn having a tarot reading by none other than Alejandro Jodorowsky, who also shows up when the finished Only God Forgives is taken to Cannes. The friendship between the two filmmakers is one I’d have loved to see more of, as Jodorowsky is another of my favorites. But even when limited to just a couple of scenes, the master makes his presence felt by being inspirational, whimsical, and a little insane. In the process of the documentary, we also see Gosling’s debut as a director as he takes on the role of 2nd Unit Director for at least one scene, we see Refn orchestrate a violent street scene at least three times in order to get it right, and more than a couple of crisis of consciences as Refn loses faith in what he’s putting on film. He goes from happy one day to depressed the next, making it clear that living with an artist is a trial. Ultimately though, after debuting the film at Cannes, he seems satisfied by Jodorowsky’s praise, and takes a perverse joy in reading one of the most horrible reviews I’ve ever seen. Somebody really didn’t like Only God Forgives and exhausted their thesaurus finding ways to express their hate. All in all, there’s not a lot here. For being only an hour the film drags at times and we never really get a clear insight into the making of Only God Forgives — only glimpses. If you’re an obsessive Refn fan you’ll probably get more out of it than a casual viewer, but even then you’ll probably be left wanting. My Life Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn is now streaming on VOD. My Life Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn (2014)Paul's Rating3.0Overall ScoreReader Rating: (0 Votes)Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.