What the hell did we just see??? Unfortunately, we can’t really answer that even after five hours of “Copenhagen Cowboy”. – After all, the series is a mega mindfuck beyond compare. But it was definitely an experience that none of those present will soon forget!
Because the six episodes of the Netflix series only ran on the last Friday of the Venice Film Festival and the performance didn’t end until well after midnight, only a little more than half the seats in the (rather huge) cinema were occupied at the world premiere. But cult director Nicolas Winding Refn didn’t seem to mind – in his welcome he advised the audience to lie down comfortably, put their feet on the back of the front row and be quiet during the performance. Fuck the Eastablishment!
No sooner said than done: In the five hours that followed, the performance was repeatedly accompanied by effervescent applause – and in addition to a general sympathy for the enfant-terrible director (“The Neon Demon”) who was sitting in the hall, that was mainly due to the fact that we collectively couldn’t believe what we were seeing on screen!
The first two to three episodes of “Copenhagen Cowboy”, which mostly play in a brothel run by an Albanian bodybuilder thug and wannabe crooner, are also already bizarre and macabre to the point of death, but at least one can still grasp reasonably comprehensibly what is actually going on.
The superstitious half-sister of the operator bought the young Miu (Angela Bundalovic) – not as a forced prostitute like the other girls, but as a talisman. Miu is a kind of human lucky penny who, among other things, is supposed to help her new owner to get pregnant despite her advanced age.
And so, for better or worse, Miu has to sit by when her mistress copulates with her overweight beer belly husband Sven. Otherwise, Sven’s favorite thing to do is rape the prostitutes downstairs, for which he’s regularly beaten up as punishment – and then grunts and squeaks like a pig (and we don’t mean a fake human grunt, but really, exactly like a freshly slaughtered animal).
Anyway, pigs play a big role in “Copenhagen Cowboy”. The tall, blond, black-gloved serial killer who roams the Danish capital prefers to strangle his victims in the halls of a pig farm – and the owner of a Chinese restaurant keeps a few domestic pigs simply because they make the corpses disappear from the grunting omnivores that the members of an Asian gang regularly dump on her.
As usual, Nicolas Winding Refn stages the whole thing in a highly artificial way – everything is exaggerated and bathed in his beloved shades of red. As far as the narrative speed is concerned, the “Too Old To Die Young” creator accelerates much more in the first three episodes than in his Amazon Prime series, which was almost provocatively decelerated.
Because the pregnancy doesn’t work out as planned, other plans are finally made for Miu: She once saw on a TV show how people in the Middle Ages were boiled in a barrel until even their brains began to boil, she said the frightened owner who already deeply regrets her human purchase. But since she reckoned without Miu …
… because halfway through the first season, a big tabula rasa is made. After the first three episodes already indicated a mythical dimension, but in the end remained “down to earth” in an infinitely fucked up way, the mindfuck madness, which not only targets the optic nerves but also abuses the ears, really gets going in episodes 4 – 6. As the plot grinds to a screeching halt, in the second two and a half hours of his fantasy noir, Nicolas Winding Refn designs a mythologically charged Copenhagen to the brim…
… in which Miu, who always wears a blue jogging suit, not only turns out to be a metaphysical martial arts expert, but suddenly also Vampire play a central role with a very powerful penis complex.
For three episodes, Nicolas Winding Refn keeps cranking up the mythology bullshit bingo, which is absurd and tongue-in-cheek, but at the same time presented with an absolutely serious pathos, while he really lets off steam with his style-whistle-on-substance staging, which quotes half of film history . “Hyperstylized” would be a merciless understatement as a description.
The narrative pace tends towards zero. So you should either watch the Netflix series like we do in the cinema if you have the chance – or put your cell phone and other possible distractions away as far as possible. It’s a wild exercise in style that fans will celebrate mercilessly, while random viewers who watched at least the first three episodes with amused dismay will slowly say goodbye to “Copenhagen Cowboy” from episode 4 onwards.
And just when you think that even a Nicolas Winding Refn can’t top the neon-foggy madness anymore, a certain game developer superstar suggests in a mini-cameo that you should definitely visit the giants. But that’s a story for next year – when the mythical war really breaks out in the second season of “Copenhagen Cowboy”.