Nicholas Winding Refn’s neo-noir won the Danish action filmmaker the directing prize at Cannes and why not? The Pusher trilogy director’s edgy, gorgeous neo-noir is an existential crime film for the ages with style to spare. Ryan Gosling stars in perhaps the best of his four roles this year (most of which made my list; see below) as the unnamed stunt driver and apprentice mechanic (working for Brian Cranston as a cripple in over his head) turned getaway driver for hire in the seedy yet glossily filmed underbelly of Los Angeles. Wearing his white satin, gold-embossed scorpion jacket like a coat of armor and chewing on toothpicks like they’re going out of style, Gosling’s antihero cruises the streets to a synth-pop score embodying all that is mysterious and cool with just a hint of danger until his waitress neighbor (Carey Mulligan) finds her husband (Oscar Isaac) in trouble with a couple of Jewish gangsters (Albert Brooks in chillingly great form, with ample support from Ron Perelman). The results are brutal, bloody and brilliant.

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