Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn sure knows how to make a stir.

Having dazzled cinema audiences with hard-nosed, unflinching fare such as Pusher and Bronson, the 41-year-old helmer offers up his next opus, Drive, to cinemagoers in September.

Having garnered major praise at Cannes, and quickly becoming one of the must-see movies of the year, the crunching 90-minute thriller stars Ryan Gosling as a film stuntman/getaway driver.

Full of hardcore violence, moody visuals and dripping with a 80s vibe, the film very much feels like a retro piece.

And that is very much what the director was looking for.

Refn explains: “I’m from the 80s.

“I moved to the US from Copenhagen in 1978 so I grew up in the 80s.

“I just remember that whole decade as a really happening time.

“The truth is as well, is that while most cities have moved on, a lot of LA still feels like you are in the 80s.

“I am a fetish person and with my movies I always try to make something that I would like to see.

“People have asked me what genre I would put Drive in and I would say neon-noir, along the lines of To Live and Die in LA.

“I wanted to make a movie about automobiles but with a 80s European electronic score as that is quite different to what most people would expect.”

As with his previous flicks, Refn certainly does not hold back from brutality in Drive (a particularly nasty elevator scene a case in point), with in-your-face carnage a real signature of his work.

But the Dane is quick to dismiss suggestions that his work is in any way exploitation.

Refn adds: “I think in a lot of ways violence is like sex – it is all about the build-up and not so much the climax.

“Violence works in movies, but only if the emotions are correct.

“If you feel for what is going on, violence can be very effective in small doses.

“I certainly feel what I do is more realistic than movies that have excessive violence but with no emotional context.”

Having struck a real chord with leading man Gosling, the pair are now working on Bangkok-set thriller Only God Forgives, before planning to take on the long-mootedLogan’s Run remake.

And Refn readily admits it is a match made in cinematic heaven.

He adds: “We have become very close and the truth is we are very similar people – we kissed atCannesfor god’s sake!

“When you find a leading man that you connect with it makes sense to work with them again.

“In many ways myself and Ryan have a telepathic understanding and it just works on every level.”

About The Author

Simon Fitzjohn

Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written two books, one on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014) and the other on the history of the character Norman Bates (2015). His third book, on the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker, is due in 2017.