lucan’s review published on Letterboxd:
"You know the story about the scorpion and the frog?"
Nicolas Winding Refn shouts "adrenaline!" before he lobs a hammer at you. There's no time to blink but there is time to react.
Ryan Gosling gives a very good performance as the lead, letting his eyes do the talking...but also his facial appearance is talking too. The further the movie accelerates to the end, the more times our protagonist is in the shadows or beneath a demonic red light...until he puts on that eerie mask. He is a man who wants to be a good man, despite the awful violence he commits - but the mask seals the deal...he no longer cares about morality once he puts that mask on - he has become a criminal, or at least he has finally realised he's a criminal.
Refn dots symbolism everywhere. Underneath both the romance and the action is a thrilling character study; a classic.