“I think I might have to kill her, man”
Refn’s commitment to his own muse, his own metronome, his own fetishes and indulgences across this sprawling, neon-mirror LA canvas is, if nothing else, incredibly inspiring. Submerging myself into Too Old to Die Young over the past few days has been such a trippy, challenging, exhilarating experience. On multiple occasions it had me ruminating on the basic rules and requirements of narrative and aesthetic storytelling. The stranger and more singular it became, the more in awe I was of its stubborn desire to be nothing other than what it wanted to be.
Sometimes a piece of work transcends being merely “good” or “bad” just by being so intensely its own thing at all costs, by any means necessary. How can you quantify if a scene goes on too long, if a narrative thread is unnecessary or if a performance is too minimal or too over the top if every single one of those creative choices is exactly as intended? Nothing here is a mistake, everything is a decision that was absolutely seen through to the end. That’s something you don’t see very often, least of all on this scale. This isn’t entertainment. It is genre, maximised and minimised. Glacial. Shocking. Moving images staged as still life photography. An exorcism of ideas, visual and otherwise, from the imagination that dreamed it up. Lurid, sexual, cruel and grotesquely funny. This is art for art’s sake. My favourite thing of 2019 so far.
Watched on Amazon Prime