Nicolas Winding Refn has a bit of a secret lurking on his directorial CV. After the disaster of his "Fear X," and wrapping up his "Pusher" trilogy, but before he came back into critical favor thanks to "Bronson" and "Valhalla Rising" (and long before his stylish crime duo of "Drive" and "Only God Forgives"), Winding Refn was broke and needed a quick gig. And so, he took the first thing he was offered: in this case, an episode of the long-running UK mysteries "Agatha Christie's Marple."
Focusing on the mystery novelist's creation, an elderly detective (played here by Geraldine McEwan), the episode, named "Nemesis" is about as far as you can get from the ultraviolence and brooding synths of "Drive." Winding Refn recently told The Guardian that the experience was "extremely degrading. But it was the best thing that ever happened to me. I got slapped around and I needed to be slapped around. Knock some sense into me. Because I realised that you can't walk on water and vanity and ego are more destructive than drugs."
You probably wouldn't know that Winding Refn was at the helm without being told, but there are a few stylistic flourishes that you wouldn't get elsewhere. Plus the cast is undeniably impressive; joining McEwan are Richard E. Grant, Anne Reid, "Downton Abbey" star Dan Stevens and "The Lone Ranger" 's female lead Ruth Wilson. To see what the director made of Agatha Christie's world, take a look below. [BlackBook Magazine]