Nicolas Winding Refn seems like an unlikely artist to be the guy who is making a career for himself as the pre-eminent bard of movie machismo, but that appears to be the case.
His "Pusher" trilogy is a marvel of soap opera plotting and bad guy behavior, and he made Kim Bodina feel like the world's greatest unknown movie star, a Danish Tony Soprano. His film "Bleeder" is about the rejection of comfort and love, with violence shown to be this seductive, necessary piece of some people's chemical make-up. His big breakthrough moment seemed to be "Bronson," which I reviewed in the very early days of this site, and that movie is all about transforming yourself into a giant battle-hardened beast and then punching your way through life. "Drive" is, aesthetically speaking, an early Michael Mann movie. It's a small doomed little character piece, with Ryan Gosling giving a great movie star performance, self-aware and stylized to an extreme.