Review: ‘My Life Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn’ reveals little

Actor Ryan Gosling stars in the film "My Life Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn."
Actor Ryan Gosling stars in the film “My Life Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn.”
(Andreas Rentz / Getty Images)

The documentary “My Life Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn” tracks the making of Danish filmmaker Refn’s 2013 film “Only God Forgives” starring Ryan Gosling. From the six-month shoot in Bangkok to the premiere of “Only God Forgives” at the Cannes Film Festival, it’s recounted here — as witnessed by Refn’s wife, Liv Corfixen.

“My Life” lets you in on the open secret that the auteur behind such brutal, macabre tough-guy flicks as the “Pusher” trilogy, “Bronson” and “Drive” is actually a lanky, bespectacled and manic-depressive 44-year-old family man with fair-haired young daughters. And that Chilean cult filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky reads tarot cards. And that Gosling is a terrific baby-sitter.

But if you are a cinephile or an aspiring filmmaker looking for some behind-the-scenes edification, there’s little. In fact, Corfixen complained that Refn wouldn’t let her film whenever there was a crisis. The biggest revelations here: The Hua Hin International Film Festival in Thailand coughed up tens of thousands of dollars for Refn and Gosling to appear, and the money went toward the budget of “Only God Forgives”; Refn had no idea what his film was about even after principal photography had commenced; and he changed his opinion on the finished product from great to awful within hours.


With a running time of one hour, “My Life” probably should have just been a special feature on the “Only God Forgives” DVD.

“My Life Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn.”

MPAA rating: PG-13 for violent and suggestive material.

Running time: 1 hour.

Playing: Cinefamily at the Silent Movie Theatre, Los Angeles.

Also on VOD.