REVIEWED BY-STEVE GENIER DIRECTED BY-NICOLAS WINDING REFN CAST-KIM BODNIA, MADS MIKKELSEN, ZLATKO BURIC, LIV CORFIXEN, LEVINO JENSEN, RIKKE LOUISE ANDERSSON and CLAUS FLYGARE. SOURCE-METRODOME ENTERTAINMENT DVD (PAL REGION 2 / 2000)
Leo’s downwards spiral comes with the news of his girlfriend Louise’s pregnancy. Sending him into a violent which ends with the Louise losing the baby due to the several beating Leo had given her. This sends revenge vibes down Louise’s brother Louis’ back as he searches for Leo. Once he finds him, tragedy is bestowed upon him, one that will stay with Leo for the rest of his life.
This the second feature from Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn, the first being his most powerful crime-drama PUSHER. Which I might add had seen several years ago, but was given the chance this past September to see the full trilogy during the Toronto International Film Festival. BLEEDER was apart of the two films he had made in the almost ten year break in between PUSHER and PUSHER 2. The other being the Hubert Selby Jr. Co-scripted project FEAR X. The wonderful thing about BLEEDER is Refn manages to bring many of the same actors in PUSHER and re-insert them into almost totally different roles. Though different in terms of life choices there are several similarities that each of these actors are subjected in their BLEEDER characters.
The film’s lead character of Leo (Kim Bodnia) is much like the character of Frank in PUSHER. There occupations and lively hoods might be different, the approach is much the same. Of course, once again Bodnia plays this character to a virtual tee, given us a total display of a very uncomfortable change in mood and overall attitude. Leo’s change is set off by his quickly changing environment, life style and comfort zone. When his daily routine is disturbed by the news of his girlfriend’s (Rikke Louise Andersson) pregnancy. Though giving those surrounding hin the impression that everything is fine, the news of future fatherhood is the direction he wants to head in. That being a false reading as there are little exhibits Leo lets slip gives yet another a more subtle indication that that may not be what he actually wants. In short, Leo is a very passable personality, one that seems to get cornered and becomes a ticking time bomb.
Another actor Refn brought over from the cult success of PUSHER is the upcoming Danish superstar Mads Mikkelsen who plays film/video addict Lenny. Who works in the a video store owned by another Pusher alumni Zlatko Buric. Once again you can draw similarities between the character of Lenny and Mikkelsen’s PUSHER character of Tonny. Though there are stark differences in the two, there is still a common element between the both of them. In BLEEDER, Lenny’s major stumbling block is his confidence outside the film world. This is brought to the test when he decides to take on the task of working up the guts to ask out a girl he had being eyeing from quite sometime. The first step, the approach, and that of course would depend on how much film the girl, in the case Lea (Liv Corfixen) knows.
Refn has managed once again much like PUSHER to bring us a very raw and most brutal account of day to day life of a group of average people. How certain aspects from one person out of this group’s life and effect the entire group. In BLEEDER his approach was slightly changed then that of PUSHER’s drug infested underworld. BLEEDER’s approach was that of a blue collared working man’s struggle to adopt to changes in his life. Viewing those changes as a threat to his future, one that he views would ultimately be the cause of him losing it all. Refn’s vision is that of stark realism, something that seems to be the pinnacle of all of his films. BLEEDER’s dark mark on this realism is Leo’s action’s and their brutal reactions. As revenge veers it’s nasty head, Leo pays a price the becomes quite costly. Just imagine being injected with someone’s blood infected with Aids, need I say more?
It seems that Refn has gathered a tight knit core of actors which beyond BLEEDER has has used on many occasions. It wonderful to be able to reuse these great actors and place them into different roles and making it work. Like on screen, Bodnia, Mikkelsen and Buric are friends, of course this is only partial the case in the PUSHER trilogy. Still in BLEEDER they work incredibly well and very realistic making this film work on all levels. From Refn’s unique style of introducing the characters in the films, to their individual situations all being linked up into a great storyline. Refn isn’t afraid to display his influences either. The video store in the beginning of BLEEDER is a classic example of this, where Lenny is severing a customer who is seeking a movie in the same vein as THE HILLS HAVE EYES. Lenny starts reaming off names of directors like Fulci, Romero and the list goes on. From there the customer is then helped by Kitjo (Buric) who owns the video store. The customer now wants porno, Kitjo then reams off several different styles of porno. To top this and to further the close bond between the characters, they sit down seemingly every night to watch a flick. This is as if Refn is inviting us into a portion of his life.
Not only is it Refn's ability to direct the actors, but it is his sense of style as well. Everything from beautiful camera angles, to very creative transitions. It doesn't stop there either, like other directors such as Tarantino, Refn has the ability to pit the perfect score for the perfect occasions. Refn certainly has the ability to see a situation on a grand scale and it shows through all these different aspects. In his framing you are subjected not to just the characters but the whole surroundings as well, All of which is quite vibrant in color and lush with depth. Thios is not just limited to BLEEDER, but to his PUSHER trilogy as well. Let's just hope Hollywood doesn't sink it's big ugly career wrecking claws into this fine on the rise Danish director.
The Metrodome Entertainment DVD release of BLEEDER is quite plain with the exception of the pretty nice print. Presented in a wide-screen aspect, the picture is very clean and vibrant with correct coloration. Audio wise BLEEDER is presented in it’s original Danish audio of 5.1 with optional English subtitles. Like the picture, the audio is also very clear. Special feature are spares giving us only three trailers, two for BLEEDER and the other for PUSHER. There are also some actor bios as well. BLEEDER is also available as a double feature disc with PUSHER and I would assume through the same company.
STORY/FILM-4 BITCH SLAPS PICTURE-3.5 BITCH SLAPS AUDIO-3.5 BITCH SLAPS EXTRAS-2.5 BITCH SLAPS OVERALL DVD-3 BITCH SLAPS
You can purchase this DVD at X-Ploited Cinema.
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