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Copenhagen Cowboy – Neon Drenched Satire

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Rating: 3 out of 5.

From the biblical ‘Last Supper’ to modern vampire fiction, the 2022 Netflix series ‘Copenhagen Cowboy’ takes subtle digs at a lot of things and is a twisted metaphorical tale of a gifted young woman called Miu who gets entangled in the web of Copenhagen’s dingy criminal world. She silently navigates a depraved world of rapists, drug peddlers, blood-suckers, contract killers… all on her own terms through the show. Is she an angel or a demon? It’s up to the viewer to interpret.

Created by Sara Isabella Jonsson Vedde and Nicolas Winding Refn, ‘Copenhagen Cowboy’ stars Angela Bundalovic as the mysterious Miu, who is considered a ‘lucky charm’, someone who can shower fortune on others. The title has nothing to do with the content of the show, but since the plot doesn’t have a clear focus or theme, the creators could’ve have named it anything and it wouldn’t have mattered. Although ‘Neon Demon’ kept popping up in my mind, the title of Nicolas Winding Refn’s 2016 horror film which would perfectly fit this six-episode-long story.

The cinematography and storytelling are an interesting blend of retro and modern aesthetics, with 80s synth-pop music peppered through the episodes that should thrill those who seek nostalgia in stories. Angela Bundalovic as Miu strangely reminded me of Tilda Swinton, more specifically the actor’s eccentric character Zelda from the bizarre zombie movie ‘The Dead Don’t Die’. Like Zelda, Miu can throw a punch and take care of herself in a world that’s as bad as living through a zombie apocalypse. A few fight scenes were reminiscent of famous Kung Fu style movies, even though the show’s pace is a lot slower than action flicks and has many moments where people are simply staring into the void.

The first half of the series felt like a satirical commentary on the exploitation of refugees, young women are lured into first world countries and pushed into the flesh-trade business with little hope of escaping a life of slavery. The creators sometimes use literal metaphors to define things, for example a character who is a sexual pervert only gets to grunt like a pig whenever he is onscreen instead of speaking the human tongue. A literal symbolism for the term ‘filthy sexual pig’. Angela’s Miu keeps escaping all sorts of horrendous men unscathed, speaks very little and yet manages to be the glue that holds this series together.

‘Copenhagen Cowboy’ is a distinctive auteur work, although Jonsson Vedde and Nicolas Winding Refn’s stylistic preferences are akin to Panos Cosmatos, who also prefers slow shots, retro tones and eclectic musical scores. While it made for a bizarre watching experience, the series was an interesting break from the usual rabble.

It’s a 6/10 from me.

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