Criticism | ‘Copenhagen Cowboy’ Review

The reviews of Daniel Farriol:
Copenhagen Cowboy

Copenhagen Cowboy (Copenhagen Cowboy) is a thriller Danish dramatic made in miniseries format that has been created by Nicolas Winding Refn (The Neon Demon, Only God forgives) Y Sara Isabella Jønsson Vedde (Miss Osakaustyrlig). The former directs all the episodes and both collaborate on the scripts along with Johanne Algren (Holiday, Kamikaze) and Mona Masri (Easy money, Amina). The story places us in the criminal underworld of the city of Copenhagen that is dominated by pimps, arms dealers and murderers, and where a woman with mysterious supernatural powers becomes a human lucky charm until she decides to take revenge on those who have killed her. injured.

It stars Angela Bundalovic (Blood Sisters, København findes ikke), Zlatko Buric (The triangle of sadness, Comic Sans), Fleur Frilund, Dragana Milutinovic, Mikael Bertelsen, Andreas Lykke Jørgensen, Li Ii Zhang Y Jason Hendil-Forssell. The series has premiered in Netflix on January 5, 2023.

Back to the origins to maintain our own creative brand

The Danish filmmaker esthete Nicolas Winding Refn He has returned to action after several years of hiatus and he does so by highlighting his initials NWR as his own creative brand that serves to endorse a unique visual style that already characterizes all his cinema. Copenhagen Cowboy It is a strange and hallucinogenic series, as fascinating as it is desperate, that breaks the mold in the current conception of television fiction and we will see if it manages to survive the jungle of platform cancellations (the director has two more seasons planned).

The new proposal is, in reality, a return to its origins, to the trilogy pusher started in 1996, but rejoicing in the stylistic purification that his cinema has undergone over time and that has led him to earn a (bad) reputation as a pedantic with pretentiousness of creativity. The series takes us to the underworld of Copenhagen, a sordid and violent place inhabited by pimps, gangsters and murderers, but where other types of beings also appear that will reveal a supernatural aspect in the plot. Among so many people of the worst ilk, the enigmatic figure of Miu (Angela Bundalovic), a skinny and silent young woman who is “bought” by the woman who runs a clandestine brothel knowing that the girl has certain powers that make her a kind of human amulet to attract good luck.

In that way, NWR integrates within the argumentative dynamics of a thriller common criminal the fondness for the mystical and abstract that allows him to play with textures, rhythm and a suggestive visual experimentation. The filmmaker is comfortable in the antipodes of commercial cinema, so it is a good time to remember when an enlightened man from the big studios offered him to take charge of the sequel to Wonder WomanWell, if that had come to fruition, it would have been quite similar to this series where little Miu will show, little by little, what her superheroine weapons are.

The human and the supernatural

Copenhagen Cowboy is a compendium of melodrama, sexuality and horror. The director’s usual obsessions are still present in a contrived style that choreographs violence and mesmerizes us through flickering neon lights like on a bad LSD trip. The sublimation of the power of the image that the cinema of NWR is influenced by cinematographic currents as diverse as the giallo Italian, the New York avant-garde counterculture of the 70s or Japanese cinema about the Yakuza of the 60s, that is to say, it forces us to accompany him during a journey that is as lysergic as it is erratic that brings together references to the expressionist terror of primary colors created by Mario Bava either Dario Argentothe decadent proto-glam of the Silver Factory made by the tandem Andy Warhol-Paul Morriseyor the surreal fantasy that surrounded the cinema of seijun suzuki and a masterpiece like The beyond (1964) from masaki kobayashi.

The experience is overwhelming, but often also frustrating and irritating. Both the introduction of characters and the evolution of the plot are too confusing in the first chapters and it is difficult to understand where the shots are going until later on he decides to put the cards face up. In reality, everything is simpler than it appears and ends up being reduced to a story about the eternal struggle between good and evil, between the evil forces that rule the earth and those beings of light that try to bring sanity to an underworld subjugated by perversion and cruelty. Miu will face gangsters, pimps and also Nicklas (Andreas Lykke Jørgensen), a murderous psychopath obsessed with killing prostitutes.

The protagonist will take too long to show her weapons to the viewer, her inaction and silence at the beginning being desperate, she is someone that we can relate so much to the hieratic driver of Drive (2011) as the emotional seeker of under the skin (Jonathan Glazer, 2013). But beyond the human, a battle will also be fought that implies the presence of the supernatural with references to vampirism, witchcraft and even aliens. We’ll see how all this concoction that has only just begun ends.


The overwhelming staging of Copenhagen Cowboy It is characterized by gentle panning where the camera participates in the action with lateral movements that play with the off-screen and sometimes become circular movements that cover the 360º of the scene. There are times when NWR seems to want to put on the costume of David Lynch, for example, when he resorts to dreamlike appearances or through that subplot of a woman subjected to the designs of a gangster who retains her daughter as was already the case in Blue Velvet (1986), a film with which he shares a look into an underground world that hides true human nature.

Both filmmakers attach special importance to the sound that accompanies their images and NWR delights us with a soundtrack techno trance with songs of Cliff Martinez, Peter Peter Y Julian Winding that transform into unbridled psychedelia moments of stage stillness or dialogues stretched out to the point of boredom, although it must be recognized that the director’s peculiar narrative style also often leads him to come dangerously close to the ornamental beauty of a video clip or a sarcastic parody of his self. onanist as in the absurd dialogue that revolves around a penis.

Copenhagen Cowboy It is the spiritual representation of the border between heaven and hell, a limbo where angels, demons and pigs coexist (who feast on authentic human flesh just like they did with Mason Verger in “Hannibal” from Thomas Harris). It is not an easy or complacent series, nor is it focused on a general public that wants to see a typical criminal story, however, the defenders of the filmmaker and the seekers of stimulating artifacts will find full satisfaction with the new proposal of the narcotic perfumer Nicolas Winding Refnalias NWR, whose initials are already used to label the essence of his cinema in an imaginary film buff bottle, just as he did Warhol with his lithographs at the Factory.

List of ‘Copenhagen Cowboy’ episodes

The first season of the Danish series Copenhagen Cowboy (Copenhagen Cowboy) It is made up of 6 episodes of between 47 and 56 minutes each.

Episode 1 – The Mysterious Miu

Miu’s arrival at the home of an Eastern European family plunges her into a dark Copenhagen underworld that exploits undocumented immigrants.

Episode 2 – My Name is Vengeance

Rosella, doubting Miu’s powers, disposes of her. Then, on the street, Miu’s abilities kick in when she sees a woman about to give birth.

Episode 3 – The Dragon Palace

Miu accompanies mother Hulda to a wealthy family’s property, where she has an unsettling vision of someone from her past.

Episode 4 – Best regards from Mr. Chiang

Returning to try to help Mr. Chiang with his migraines, Miu makes a dangerous deal that forces her to contact an old associate.

Episode 5 – Copenhagen

A brutal gang war could present an opportunity for Miu. After sustaining severe injuries, Nicklas summons a secret weapon to exact his revenge.

Episode 6 – It will be the end of the world

As Miu discovers the truth about Mother Hulda’s story, a menacing presence prepares to destroy everything she has fought so hard for.

What did you think of the series?

Copenhagen Cowboy

Criticism | ‘Copenhagen Cowboy’ Review – Series – Netflix