by Victoria Alexander
Season 1 available to stream on Amazon Prime
Cruelty as an art. An original masterpiece with a vision all Refn’s own. Bravo to the powers that recognize his brilliance.
Riveting, astonishing and impossible to watch casually. Like I did, all ten episodes must be watched in one sitting. Where is Season 2? You will join the chorus of devotees who demand Season 2 and 3.
Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn is a filmmaker with a worldview that is his alone. There are no compromises. Refn enthralls. After watching TOO OLD, you will be compelled to see all his movies again: DRIVE and ONLY GOD FORGIVES (both starring Ryan Gosling), THE NEON DEMON (with Keanu Reeves and Jena Malone) and VALHALLA RISING (starring my favorite Mads Mikkelsen).
Keanu, why haven’t you enlisted Refn to write and direct a John Wick movie?
TOO OLD TO DIE YOUNG (co-created with Ed Brubaker) is extraordinary in it’s mesmerizing detail to violence. Refn is a director, like Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick and Lars von Tier, that completely visualizes his own world bound by fear.
Refn is in every character. He idolizes every character.
TOO OLD is violent without remorse and has several very compelling sex scenes. No one in the 10-episodes is good. No one gets arrested or questioned when ten or more people die. All the characters live in the realm of savagery. They understand the power architecture of fear. It’s a motivator.
Martin Jones (Miles Teller) is a corrupt Los Angeles policeman. Jones and his partner Larry (Lance Gross) have a routine. They stop a traffic stop with an attractive young woman driving. Larry follows a well-used, oft-repeated script. Larry takes whatever money the woman has and splits it with Martin. It’s a chilling companion piece to the infamous BAD LIEUTENANT car stop. Gross has taken this short scene and makes it highly memorable.
This is not Martin and Larry’s first time at the rodeo.
One night Larry tells Martin to wait while he confronts a stopped car. He is immediately killed. Police procedures require Martin to undergo several processes to deal with his partner’s death. He gets a promotion. Martin goes to see Damian (Babs Olusanmokun), a gangster at odds with the Mexican cartel, who tells him the hit on Larry was because he had killed the mother of Jesus Rojas (Augusto Aguilera). Martin is confronted with the truth that it was him who did the killing of Rojas’s mother. Now Martin must carry out Larry’s off-duty work – killing people.
30-year-old Martin is having a secret relationship with 17 year-old Joey Carter (Nell Tiger Free). Her mother died in a self-inflicted car accident and that is how they met. Joey has a billionaire tech father Theo (William Baldwin), a man with a very strange guttural verbal affectation and a seriously vulgar interest in his daughter’s sex life.
Then there is Viggo Larson (John Hawkes) who works for “healer” Diana DeYoung (Jena Malone) as a freelance killer. If your daughter’s murderer is found not guilty, you make a donation to DeYoung and Viggo kills him. It’s frontier justice, L.A.-style. Diana represents herself as an “avenging angel” who has visions. She’s got a nice niche going after sex offenders, rapists, sex traffickers and pedophiles. One-eyed Viggo is dying, so Martin is recruited to help out.
Rojas is told that he killed the wrong cop. He’s got a Freudian fetish – he’s sexually in love with his mother, Magdalena (Carlotta Montanari), a seductive drug lord. His dangerous girlfriend, Yaritza (Christina Rodlo), is attentive to his mother fixation. Rojas and Yaritza have an unusual sexual relationship – be patient for it. Rojas is a fascinating complex character. He’s ruthless and runs a stable of enslaved women as prostitutes and monstrous killers.
The later episodes focus on Rojas claims to rule his mother’s empire and Yaritza has a revelation about who she really is and her purpose.
If you want a series that has highly original characters with appetites only illegal money can provide, TOO OLD stands alone. The production is outstanding and all the actors, especially Aguilera, are committed to Refn’s world that is free of consequences.
And then there is Netflix’s 2023 hallucinatory thriller COPENHAGEN COWBOY by Refn. But there are only 6 episodes in Season 1. Unfair!
“The ALL is Mind; The Universe is Mental.”
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