Copenhagen Cowboy

Fifteen years ago we would have cried out for Copenhagen Cowboy: today we must avoid underestimating it

If you think about it, one of the hallmarks of the series that made history about twenty years ago was their pace: slow, sometimes very slow. The Sopranos, The Wire, breaking Bad, Mad Men, just to name the fantastic four. Slowness that contrasted with the much higher and often obligatory rhythm of the generalist series, which had to grind a murder, a pathology or another matter x within each single episode. The cable networks imposed the change of paradigm and suddenly slowness became synonymous with quality, in the sense that the series that did not submit to the generalist rhythms were the auteur ones, those that made history in themselves and which, as mentioned, made the history in general. Twenty years have passed, we have sobered up that hangover from slowness, on the other hand we have passed to a nausea due to excess of proposal, which has pushed us in the opposite direction, the one that leads us to speed up the series in order to be able to see as much as possible. If I were a student or a university researcher I would throw myself into this matter, instead I limit myself to reflecting on how much we would have cried out for a miracle if Copenhagen Cowboys came out 15 years ago and how much we have to be careful not to underestimate it today.

Copenhagen Cowboys it’s an auteur series, there’s no doubt about it: by Nicholas Winding Refn, the wonder boy of European cinema who has lost a bit of wonder in recent years and hasn’t been a boy for some time now. And the signing for Netflix, which in this way puts a cross on the “hipster series” box for 2023. Refn is a director with a very strong visual identity: if you have only seen his most recent and popular films (Drive, Only God Forgives And The Neon Demon), you have clearly in mind those scenes populated by neon and fluorescent lights, those highly studied and hyper-refined shots. The same ones he had already put in Too old to die young, a very slow and very visually beautiful Prime Video series, which however did not leave its mark. Thanks to the change of platform, Copenhagen Cowboys it can have a different destiny, also because – as far as possible – it is a bit more pop.

The story is simple and strange at the same time. The main character is Miu (Angela Bundalovic), a petite girl with supernatural powers: is she a healer? Are you a shaman? Are you someone who takes advantage of the gullibility of others? She is not known, what we do know is that at the beginning of the series she is called by a woman who wants to get pregnant. She is not just any woman: her brother is a criminal of Albanian origin, who runs a brothel with extremely violent methods; her husband is represented as a sort of subhuman, so abject that he doesn’t even have the right to speak, since, every time he opens his mouth, he only emits pig-like grunts. Miu enters this very dark world and only comes out at the end of the second episode, when she begins her work of revenge against the various incarnations of evil.

Copenhagen Cowboys it is the story of a solitary avenger, who faces ever-changing criminal worlds, as if they were levels of a video game, in which savagery and cruelty become ever stronger. On the contrary, Miu observes everything with extreme detachment, as if she belongs to another world, a sort of avenging angel who punishes those who do not respect other human beings.

All this happens with fantastic and inexorable circular trolleys, which give movement to a series that is instead very static from a narrative and dialogue point of view. As we said at the beginning, everything is very slow, as if the events on the screen risked disturbing the visual perfection. A choice that can be irritating and in fact is for much of the first episode. But then, towards the end, a sort of mini-video clip begins: a guitar is grafted onto a carpet of pads which initially seems to want to recall the theme of Badalamenti’s Twin Peaks. On the screen, all the girls of the brothel waiting to be called by a client: a feeling of absolute suspension and anguish, which is broken by the escape of one of the girls, while the electric guitars are freed and the rhythmic rises (resounding piece by Cliff Martinez, author of the soundtrack).

As far as I’m concerned, it’s time that changed my relationship with Copenhagen Cowboys. Ok, it’s slow, very slow, pretentious, self-referential. But that sequence is a masterpiece, it brought me back into the world and connected me to the series. Series that continues with Miu landing in another center of evil, which like the previous one sees women in the worst positions, oppressed and submissive in every way.

As for Too old to die young, Copenhagen Cowboys it’s a series from inside or outside: extreme, always unbalanced towards the visual part rather than the narrative one, but with a few more grips. One sequence was enough for me to find the hook I needed, maybe it works like this for you too. In any case, it deserves a chance.

Why watch Copenhagen Cowboy: because we can already say that in 2023 it will be among the best shot things

Why quit Copenhagen Cowboy: because you want strong stories

Copenhagen Cowboy – Netflix: Evil, Revenge and Winding Refn