Too Old to Die Young (TV Series 2019) Poster

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This is what it looks like when you let Refn make 10 episodes of TV
feelinesound14 June 2019
One beautiful shot after the other, atmosphere-building silences, sparse dialogue, echoing analog synth drones. If you've seen any of Refn's last 3 films (Drive, Only God Forgives, Neon Demon) then you know the score and you should probably know what to expect coming into this so-called series, which really is much more of a 13-hour movie/bad acid trip.

Except with so much time for Refn to do as he pleases we end up with much more atmosphere-building silent moments, and somehow the dialogue is even sparser - Miles Teller basically plays a corrupt cop version of Ryan Gosling's Driver minus the toothpick. The end result comes across like a non-supernatural, neon-colours David Lynch piece with a mesmerizing score by Cliff Martinez at his best. This alone makes it worth watching - it's like being in an art gallery, watching one beautiful moving painting after another as brilliant, haunting music fades in and out. Is there much underneath this shimmering, beautiful surface? Debatable. Does it matter? Only if you like your TV and movies old school style, with a well-conceived plot and characters you can empathise with.
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Jamie_Seaton15 June 2019

Being a fan of Refn's previous work I've been waiting patiently for this and definitely not disappointed. Yes it's a slow-burn piece but with that it's building perfect atmosphere and mood! If you enjoyed Drive, Only God Forgives and Valhalla Rising you'll be in for a treat here. The soundtrack is dark, gloomy and the visuals have a beautiful tint of colours.

A little disappointed in reviewers saying it's slow and giving low scores after only seeing 1 episode. It's for viewers with open minds and willing to take in what's happening in a cinematography stand point, sounds, as well as acting and story...

If I was to compare this to other directors work I'd say it has a fair bit of Lynch's abstract filmmaking and Kubrick's tracking shots on top of its own unique originality.

Extremely dark, powerful, provocative and holds a place in my heart.
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Not for everyone
dimukho15 June 2019
Nicolas Winding Refn has experimented and done something in TV which has not been tried before. Although at times it would feel very slow, this is better viewed as a whole movie broken down into volumes with strong cinematography, vibrant colors and character building. Long tracking shots, face focus and lack of background music during dialogues between 2 people will demand your whole attention to be given to the scenes. Don't watch this if you're looking for some quick action over popcorn.
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Caviar Television
hallnw15 June 2019
Bravi. Truly unlike anything else. Polarizing and provocative which is refreshing given how everything feels the same on most tv.
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Patience is a virtue
jason-617-54604715 June 2019
If you like your series popcorn style - mindless chewable crunchy and fast then stay away. If not then hang in there. Even if it's only for Khondji's cinematography. Ten years from now this series will go down in the annals of filmmaking as iconic and despotic. It's only failing? This series is before its time. Before the uninitiated.
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Anything but "slow"!
dawnrzr16 June 2019
Did we watch the same show? In the very first episode there's so many things happening. I was expecting perhaps one "main" event to take place (after reading how "slow" it is). Instead we get like 8 quite big happenings that pulls you into this extremely dark place, some things are resolved in the first episode, some are not.

I think people are perhaps not used to the cinematography or something. It's almost completely void of fast action clips, the typical Hollywood stuff. Instead we get long scenes, slow camera work, ambient drone music. This is not the same as a show being "slow"! A slow show would mean that very little happens, this is not true at all here.

It's dark, unsettling and beautiful. A solid 9/10 from me, so far.
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Thanks NWR, you blew my mind.
gustavo_0280117 June 2019
NWR transports us to that unique universe that he demonstrated previously in his films. Now with 10 episodes, he takes us to an exciting story full of violence, neon and the wonderful music of Cliff Martinez. A trip to the American underworld mixed with the Mexican culture and the unique excellent visual aesthetics. Miles Teller is perfect, as is the whole cast, creating unique and complex characters. 10 out of 10 for daring to leave the everyday, thanks nicolas and the crew.
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Too Slow for Sober watcher
bameinremedial14 June 2019
I always a fan of NWR's for his color palate. But this series is too slow. And the dialogue is too simple. I got bored in 30mins of eps 1. still, the colour and cinematograph top notch. Definitely not for sober watcher.
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I already looking forward to season 2.
LuisBracero9616 June 2019
I am already on the last episode. GREAT first season. This is Miles Teller's greatest role. Can't wait for season two lol.
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jeffrriffo15 June 2019
This will be revisited for decades by historians and film critics alike. Papers will be written scientists will dissect it. Visually stunning and written like a true graphic neo noire novel from the comfort of your eye bleeding setup in your living room. #bynwr's finest work! BRAVO!!!
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Amazing cinematography,visual orgasm😉
slymn_yldz15 June 2019
I Love Refn's cinema style.Very beautiful music and pictures.
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It's really very slow
streetk5314 June 2019
I love Nicolas Winding Refn. Drive is one of my all time favorite movies, and I loved the Neon Demon and Bronson. So I was going into this show optimistic and excited, but towards the end of the first episode it felt like a 10 hour movie. There's a lot of amazing shots but the pacing is very Very slow, and it bored me out a lot. The show can be really great if the pacing was a bit better. I love the directing, music, style and the acting in the episode. Story isn't really that interesting. but like I said, the biggest flaw is the pacing. I couldn't continue watching anymore.
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Cleverly weeds out the dimbos early on
kemmysunshine18 June 2019
This is a very clever series which as many have already stated is a supreme expression of artistic vision from a director/creator at the very peak of his game. It's transgressive, it's extreme and it's absolutely beautiful. I initially struggled to empathise with any of the main characters which always puts me off balance and I'm sure this is deliberate. I found many episodes difficult to watch and a couple of them actually traumatising to the extent where I had to turn off and take a break.

(On a side note: could Jena Malone actually be any more fabulous?)

Sure this is certainly not for everyone but the greatest incidental trick it pulls is weeding out the dimbos early on. All the "couldn't get past episode one" and "fell asleep" reviews are a testament to this fact.

"Hey dimbos; guess what, this isn't for you" "Go away!"
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Tooooo sloooooooow
obetanco15 June 2019
This is to slow paced , every episode 1.5 hours at at pace slower than a turtle on a race . Every episode feels like an eternity , I have trIed really hard to stay awake and to finish the second episode . I don't think I have the patience or the time to watch the remaining 8 episodes .
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fdc214 June 2019
Somebody said the dialog was sparse?

What it is excruciatingly trite... with a... dramatic pause... after virtually every... sentence.

When even a coke whore... is in slow motion... you just know... something is wrong...

The first episode is... 45 minutes to an hour... of painfully drawn out dialog... stretched out to... an hour and a half. I'ts like the episode... was wasted on heroin.

It took me two sittings... to force myself... through the first episode... due to falling... asleep.

I don't know that I'll have the patience... to give the second episode... a chance.
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Slow but has beautiful scenes
ericslieberman15 June 2019
Ok so have you ever seen films where if you were to freeze frame every second of a film and you'd have a beautiful picture each time? Well this film is it. Yeah it's slow, and In theory this could have easily been 1/2 hour if the actors would speak their lines without it feeling like it's in slow motion. But after episode 1, I'm still digging it. More to come...
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loempiavreter15 June 2019
Warning: Spoilers
'Too Old to Die Young' is the latest effort from the Danish director with the almost comical grandeur attitude. And let me tell you that the directors overblown ego, is part of what makes TOTDY package. To say if his latest work will be well received, is an ill-fated question. Will it neatly balance on a divided 50/50 audience again or will it weigh out more heavily to a negative majority, is the more interesting question.


The story follows a bit of crooked cop called Martin Jones, who witnessed the slaughter of his equally crooked police partner Larry, by Jesus (Augusto Aguilera ), as an act of vengeance for their murder on his mother, Magdalena, the local cartel queen. Jesus flees to Mexico where he lays low with his cartel leading uncle (Emiliano Díez), his mysterious right hand lady/assassin; Yaritza (Cristina Rodlo) and cousin, Miguel (Roberto Aguire). Soon Jesus starts his ascend in the criminal empire as the devilish king to his rightful throne (the allusions to Lucifer from Refn were hardly subtle). Meanwhile officer Martin get's promoted to Detective but at the same time has to play a hitmen for the Jamaican mob, for reasons related to the death of cartel queen Magdalena. Martin finds a mentor in Viggo (John Hawkes), an terminal ill ex-fed, now vigilante working on a hitlist provided by physical therapist/part time mystic (representing the series supernatural side), Diana (Jena Malone), who leaks Viggo a list of true scumbags out of confessions from their victims. Viggo's philosophy in his targets of choice influences Martin, and seeks it as an atonement for his past wrongdoings. He soon rejects jobs from the Jamaican mob which doesn't follow his code of ethics, he only wants them to give Martin the worst of the worst. The world of TOTDY is also colored by the likes of Janey (Nell Tiger Free), Martin's underage girlfriend, her father Theo (William Baldwin) and Damian (Babs Olusanmokun) leader of the Jamaican mob. While Miles Teller, who plays Martin, is the focus of the marketing campaign for being a bigger name, it is equally Jesus and Yaritza's story as it's Martin, as the series divide it's run between the focus of either one of two story arcs.

One thing that I appreciate in TOTDY is the humor that I haven't seen in Refn's last few work from Drive to Neon Demon, but was part of the appeal of such works as his Pusher Trilogy, Bronson and such. There's a very dry, surreal sense of humor and it flows rather well with meticulously paced beat. One of the comical standout characters is the Ukulele playing Lieutenant from Martin's police force, a character that wouldn't be out off place in the Twin Peaks universe (talking about Twin Peaks... Is that Apple Pie scene a nod to the legendary series?), his love for Jesus and Fascism is simply hilarious. The police force might be the boldest scene stealing comic relief characters of the series, but apart from the brooding main characters, the TOTDY universe is scattered with light hearted comical moments from it's supporting cast (sign me up for a subscription to CARTEL TV!), that perfectly balances out the almost fetishistic gaze on violence.

Refn doesn't tackle so much of an overarching narrative plot, as he his more interested in giving a slab of critical satire similar to Paul Verhoeven's work in the States such as Robocop and Starship Troopers., as Refn prefers blatant obvious symbolism to tackle the metaphysical message he envisioned. There is a certain impending doom hanging in the air of the US. Characters wax apocalyptic prosa and existentialists musings on life as a majority of the characters are spiraling down a self-destructive pit of pendulum. Refn toys with allorgy's to the current political climate in the US. Martin tries to control his violent destructive path by forcing it into a quest of atonement, but the reality of the situation is that he is still under the tight reigns of the ill willing higher powers, be it the Jamaican mob, the police force or simply following Viggo. It's all a bit on the nose, but it works. Going back to it's narrative overarching story, it closes of in true David Lynch fashion... Which means it doesn't. But it felt expertly timed, playing well with the viewers subversion.

The acting is slow and stilted with intention, the editing always lingers on a tad few seconds too long. The acting and offbeat rhythm pace might as well be influenced by Japanese Noh theatre (the opposite of the expressive Kabuki theatre), though it isn't exactly new in Refn's world; Refn's post Bronson work definitely flirted with this style on more than one occasion. Does it work on a 13 hour neo-noir epic? Sort of. It depends how you choose to view TOTDY; Refn has stated in an interview that he was influenced by his children's youtube behavior and encourage the viewer to drop in and out of his series. While it's true that this statement only works halfway since character still die, and you'd be missing something stepping in on later episodes. But I found out that the series pacing and sparse dialogue made up as excellent background entertainment and played very well on this philosophy of dropping in and out. It worked quite well working behind my computer to occasionally revert my attention to the screen playing TOTDY; as when you get into the beat and rhythm of it's dialogues, you kinda know when to avert your focus to the screen to pick up on the important tidbits. And I have to say that this viewing method proved more effective, unlike my first tries to watch this series fully focused from start to finish (and Im used to work of the likes of Bela Tarr). But what's the point if it doesn't work from start to finish, you might ask? To appreciate a narrative on alternative way, might prove the right cure for people looking for different sorts of cinematic kinks. Is it user-friendly? Probably not, but there definitely is a certain portion of people who get a kick out of this.

The audiovisual department rarely fails in Refn's oeuvre, so this doesn't come to a surprise that TOTDY is another feat for eyes and ears. Visually, cinematographer Darius Khondji, delivered some of the finest colors to the small screen, the season. The series is simply gorgeous to look at. And while the camera work is often simplistic and static, it does compliment the offbeat slow pace. Cliff Martinez's score, is compromised of sparse eerie droning soundbits are minimal but effective, with some sudden operatic outbursts that would not be out of place in a psychedelic spaghetti western (it had shades of Matalo's OST and several of Morricone's scores) and the occasional inspiring song choice from the many Jamaican Ska tracks that gave colors to the Jamaican gang to the punk rock'n roll stomper opener from 999 to the hilariously effective Mandy from Barry Manilow as the background track (and subject of a joke) in a hot car chase thrill.

To conclude; does Refn has a masterpiece at hand? The amazon prime series plays out somewhat as a Refn's 'best of' compilation. There is a bit of everything from his previous work. An therefore I wouldn't put it as a top tier Refn, because he is sailing charted waters, there is not enough of Refn trying to do something new. Im almost certain however that it will find it cult status later on with a certain kind of audience. And while Refn tries to adhere the arthouse pretenses in the series, the core of TOTDY is midnight movie pulp. It will be a better companion piece to the works of Seijun Suzuki or Russ Meyer, than say Ingmar Bergman. As in; it's pulp material in the hands of skilled director that takes it to another level, but doesn't betray it's pulpy start. Speaking of Suzuki, tonally it did remind me of Seijun Suzuki's comical noir Branded to Kill, juggling it's off beat humor with noir grit.
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Really not sure about this one
Reviewer114 June 2019
Two episodes in and it feels like I've been watching for a solid seven hours. Really hard work. Laboured, odd choice of score, like a sci fi movie from the 70s. Too long shots of static people, could've popped in a another reviewer has said, the dialogue is slow, answering of questions even slower. It seems the writer is trying very hard to construct a back story but it's completely out of whack & doesn't make alot of sense. I am really only watching out of curiosity in the vein hope that this series may improve.
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Falling asleep.....
lewislucchesi15 June 2019
Other reviews have stated this well enough but I wanted to chime in because of my frustration. I love NWR's style: beautifully shot, simple dialogue, relaxed pacing.

But TOTDY is exhausting and I'm only two episodes in and really struggling to get through There are scenes and pick-up shots that never seem to end. Every character is subdued and withdrawn.

I thought NWF producing a mini-series could be the best of both worlds - his style with a clear narrative driving each episode. WRONG. Amazon seem to have given him Carte Blanche and he's given 10 long drawn movies
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Hard to Rate, but I like it
leeleejensen16 June 2019
Yes it's slow. Yes it's drawn out. Yes it can get "boring". But what this does is build the tension in every scene, which, despite dragging, keeps you engaged. The emotionally detached acting of Teller, while not showcasing all his talents, brings an intrigue and attraction to a seemingly morally devoid character. Overall it's an interesting one, I look forward to seeing where it goes.
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Too slow (for my taste)
tgagovidigal14 June 2019
The start was so slow I was half asleep after 5m. Probably will be a critics choice, since seems to try and be artistic. The dialogues are painful. I couldn't get past the first 10m. Not saying it's bad, just that I don't like it.
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2 times the speed... Still slow
starlee0218 June 2019
Yes I appreciate the creative lighting and color, and camera movement and composition. But films and shows are for people to watch. I had to watch the show on 2X speed to be able to finish it, the movements are too slow, people stay still for too long, and the awkward gaps between lines. I'm sorry but they are completely unnecessary, most of the times when I'm watching this show, I find myself staring at the screen, waiting for the actor waiting to speak the next word. It was clearly the director's decision to make them slow, but you can tell even the actors felt awkward having to pause that long between lines. I understand that is an artistic choice, but you have gone too far. Your show could finish in half the time it has now WITHOUT LOSING ANYTHING!! You don't even need to cut any shots, just please speed it up. I feel like my life is flying by while watching this show.
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too slow
rocherbe14 June 2019
The pace it so unbelievably slow, it very difficult to keep watching
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coronitasc15 June 2019
This show could be quite good if they didn't over do it on the melodramatics. I'm all for it but dang I find myself skipping a head ten seconds at a time because I get bored as hell in between the scenes waiting on what's to come next.
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An empty void
Bryan-16 June 2019
I suffered through the first episode to write this. Out of the 4000 or so things I've seen I don't ever recall seeing something that moves this slow. I watched it at 2x speed and was still bored to tears.

To give an example of how slow this is: the first 60 seconds consists of a slow pan of a wall. That's right, I hope you like that wall because you're going to look at it far longer than any human would ever look at it.
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