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Movie Review: My Life Directed By Nicolas Winding Refn

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I will never forget the day I saw a film called What Just Happened. It stars Robert De Niro as a waning movie producer as he struggles to get a film made. What made this film so impactful and quite honestly, scary, is the realism behind it. A film about a movie producer based on a book written by a movie producer… You would have to think that a man more than 25 years in the business would be able to make an accurate telling of life in Hollyweird. I say it’s scary because it has been a lifelong dream of mine to create movies. In whatever capacity that ends up being, I just want to be apart of a story from paper to celluloid. It’s magic to me in the grandest sense of the word. When I hear people say things like they don’t want to know how something is made speaking of a certain special effects shot or stunt work, they just don’t want to know because for them it ruins the mystery. For me it’s the exact opposite, I want to know how a scene is constructed. I want to see a film grow from infancy to adulthood and all that it entails. For me, My Life Directed is yet another glimpse, albeit brief glimpse, into the truly bizarre world of filmmaking. I will say I wish the documentary was a bit longer but what is shown is none the less fascinating and certainly eye opening much the same as What Just Happened was for the hopeful (and terrified) filmmaker in me.

I want connection when I watch a film. A prime example of absolute brilliance in terms of connection is the recently Oscar nominated film, Boyhood. This film is not exciting, it is not fast paced or heart pumping intrigue. So what makes Boyhood so fascinating; it’s the connection. While most might see My Life Directed and feel absolutely nothing about it other than maybe boredom or complete disinterest; I feel connection. I feel like this film is a window into a world I say I want to be a part of. It elicits some rather terrifying questions that I must ask myself and that is; do I want this kind of life? Do I want to risk something I love becoming something I resent? Is it worth the stresses that come with such a unique way of living? I realize these are questions that anyone can ask of themselves when it comes to their chosen means of living. Perhaps that’s why I connected so much with this hour long look into the life of the prolific artist, Nicolas Winding Refn.

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A reoccurrence I noticed throughout this sixty minute journey (in actuality over 6 months of headaches and sleepless nights) is the almost innate need Nicolas has to not only perfect his craft but to remind his own wife how much she really is a part of the process of getting his film, God Only Forgives, made. And in return she must remind him of the talent he has and the constant doubt he carries of himself is detrimental at best. It’s really humanizing to see a talent like him almost fall to pieces simply from not seeing what others see in him. Yet despite all his uncertainties he gets the film made and seen. Whatever happens beyond this is beyond his control and everything leading up to release of said control is a stress inducing nightmare for Nicolas.

As I said before, it all feels very human and personal. In a business (a lifestyle really) so caught up in image and reputation, it’s comforting to know that people like Nicolas Winding Refn are still out there… trying. Regardless of what I think about Only God Forgives or Drive or any of his other efforts, I can appreciate him as a filmmaker for giving someone like me hope that originality still has a place in this world. As for the film itself, My Life Directed is personal and simple and yet so complicated in its own right. It’s not for everyone certainly. But for those interested in this world as I am, give it a chance.

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Rated PG-13 For: some violent and suggestive material
Run Time: 58 minutes
After Credits Scene: No
Starring: Liv Corfixen, Nicolas Winding Refn, Ryan Gosling, Alejandro Jodorowsky
Directed By: Liv Corfixen

Out of 5 Nerdskulls
Story: 5/ Directing: 4.5/ Visuals: 4
OVERALL: 4.5 Nerdskulls

Check out the trailer below:

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