Saturday, September 17, 2011
The dawn of a name
Remember when you first heard the name Quentin Tarantino? Didn't it just sound like a name you needed to remember? Or perhaps more accurately, a name you would not need to remember, because it would soon become unforgettable and possibly inescapable?
The last few weeks, I've been tossing the name "Nicolas Winding Refn" around in my mind in the same way.
I don't know all that much about Drive, which comes out today -- I've seen the trailer once and I have a basic idea of the premise. However, there's something so invigorating about the footage, and something about the fact that Refn won best director at Cannes for this film, that fills me with hope that this could be the dawning of a new auteur. Maybe a good Tarantino imitator for once.
Nicolas Winding Refn. It doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, unfortunately. (The guy's Danish, what's he gonna do.)
Now, it's not accurate to say that Refn is new. His name may be new to me, but he's already directed seven films, dating back 15 years. Most notably Bronson, which received some positive critical attention a couple years ago. (Though the only person I know who saw it was left cold by it, and as a result I haven't considered it more seriously.) However, Drive is his first American film, his fourth in the English language.
After I'm done seeing it -- most likely this weekend -- Drive may not remind me of a Quentin Tarantino film at all. But we know that Tarantino has a fetish for heists, guns, shady characters, fast cars and stunt drivers, so it's most likely it will.
The real question is, will it be good Tarantino or bad Tarantino? There's a lot more of the latter than the former. Then again, Cannes -- where Tarantino is a favorite son -- is not known for giving out best directing awards to bad Tarantino impersonators.
Obviously, the buzz for Drive is quite good. However, on one of the podcasts I listen to, they quoted what director Rian Johnson said about it -- he enjoyed it, but we should temper our expectations. Too late! (Besides, Johnson is overrated.)
Say it with me ... "Nicolas Winding Refn. Nicolas Winding Refn."
Eh, we'll get used to it.