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'Drive': Nicolas Winding Refn discusses his grim fairy tale

December 12, 2011 |  2:59 pm

With its gleaming, neon-lit nightscapes and a cast led by Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan, the car-meets-noir thriller "Drive" is often a treat for the eyes. Even so, the film is punctuated by moments of graphic violence, which some critics — including the Times' Kenneth Turan — found gratuitous.

For "Drive" director Nicolas Winding Refn, who recently attended the Envelope Screening Series, the film's unflinching gore is a necessary element of what he considers to be a modern fairy tale.

"The whole idea of the movie in terms of the structure really came out of the Grimms' fairy tales," Refn said. "The idea [was] that the film was basically about a man who falls in love with the purity of love."

Such fairy tales, Refn said, always start sweetly: "And then when it flips, it goes very dark and extremely violent in its tone and what you see. But in a way, you need that to counter the other."

Check out the video above for more of Refn's thoughts on violence in art — and to find out how "Pretty Woman" inspired "Drive."


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— Oliver Gettell