As if it were a three-hour pilot, a series that promises beauty in every shot but currently lacks it: Refn’s cinema involved in serial aestheticism. On Netflix
As in the case of old B-movies whose recovery continues to be at the center of a programmatically postmodern authorial vision, at the end of the vision of Copenhagen Cowboysthe TV series of Nicolas Winding Refn landed on Netflix on January 5, what remains are the individual images and sound. If Cliff Martinez’s score is as enjoyable as ever, free to meander between synthesizers and death notes in a way that hasn’t happened to him in such a powerful way for a long time, the “neon demon” NWR – acronym signature that spasmodically asks to rise to the rank of visual artist, as if the screen were just a starting point of his stylistic research – in this latest project for Netflix he films some of the most emblematic frames and moments of his way to bend the industry of the imaginary to his poetics. But here by dint of rarefying its constituent components and continuing in an undeniable way to mix up its genre paradigms, from cinema to Copenhagen Cowboys very little remains. Intellectual abstraction is not a process that suits commercial streaming platforms, not so much for the reference target – that persisting in thinking as an audiovisual webete, to use an equally technologically generalizing neologism, is an indication of lack of knowledge of the methods of use intermediary of the average spectator – as much for the convenience of domestic vision which inevitably weighs down the scope of the reflection that this work claims in a frankly asphyxiating three-hour duration due to the expansion of the narrative flow.
In the usual rebound of genres starting from the already explored and adored crime/thriller arrives at revenge movie and, never so directly, tangentially touches some strings of the ethnological fairy tale (probably the most notable novelty), Refn’s series shows the story of the enigmatic Miu (Angela Bundalovic) within the criminal underworld of the Danish capital. In fact, during the six episodes, the “lucky” young woman will first be the object of superstitious devotion/fear on the part of a Sinti clan, only to then unexpectedly find herself saving a young Chinese life, colliding with the dangerous boss who was holding her hostage and finally being involved in a drug trafficking with shamelessly rich and shamelessly colluding Balkan entrepreneurs who from the top of glacial skyscrapers (stylistically illuminated, of course) move in an enigmatic way the ranks of the racket which is the entire city economy.
While returning to direct in his native land, the director then points his camera towards the Roma, the Asians, the slimy inhabitants of Eastern Europe and the naive Afro-Americans demonstrating that uniting the different nationalities by now masters of Western degradation – not even the Danes are naturally spared: the native Sten grunts every time he speaks and the handsome semi-vampire rants about the need to show his penis – it’s the drive for violence.
Which paradoxically finds less visual space given that the ultra-gore peaks Refn had accustomed us to are very few in the face of a philosophical systematization so trodden as to be nihilistic. Immersed in the leaden photography of Magnus Nordenhof Jønck, the characters know only the codes of animal oppression, as demonstrated by the not very subtle allegory with the pigs repeatedly reiterated and reified in alternating montages perhaps never so easily moralistic in the cinema of NWR. As if it were a pilot episode of a monster-project, Copenhagen Cowboys presents the very few events of the Miu affair as background, premonitions and flashes of a serial investigation which, if the premises are maintained, promises to last for many seasons. While awaiting the “giants” announced in the last episode by his partner and friend Hideo Kojima, Refn’s latest series is therefore a sequence of static pictures which, although extraordinarily dazzling, remain dwarf events and of empty spectator interest to this day.
Original title: ID.
Director: Nicolas Winding Refn
Cast: Angela Bundalovic, Lola Corfixen, Zlatko Buric, Andreas Lykke Jørgensen, Jason Hendil-Forssell, Li Ii Zhang, Dragana Milutinovic
Duration: 56′ (1st ep.), 51′ (2nd ep.), 52′ (3rd ep.), 54′ (4th ep.), 46′ (5th ep.), 53′ ( 6th ep.)
Origin: Denmark, 2022/2023
The evaluation of the film of Sentieri Selvaggi