October 25, 2016

Harmony Korine Channels Nicolas Winding Refn in New Under Armour Ad

Harmony Korine's new Under Armour ad builds upon his Spring Breakers aesthetic—but adds Stephen Curry into the mix.

Before Spring Breakers, Harmony Korine dealt in grit rather than flash. The director, who wrote Kids after Larry Clark discovered him skateboarding in Washington Square Park, built his career exploring America's underbelly, from the wayward residents of a destitute Ohio town (Gummo) to a group of sociopathic elderly people (Trash Humpers) to a schizophrenic living amidst a perverse and dysfunctional family (Julien Donkey-Boy). With Spring Breakers, Korine ventured into flashier territory, trading grain and unconventional leads for neon lights and beautiful people.

His upcoming feature, The Trap, will star Benicio del Toro and Al Pacino. In the interim, Korine has directed an engaging commercial for Under Armour starring NBA champion Stephen Curry and a handful of young fans who lend personal context to the MVP's accomplishments. With its red, magenta, and neon lighting and a distinct embrace of the digital medium, the visual style is reminiscent of Nicolas Winding Refn's The Neon Demon. 

https://youtu.be/PSEOq0C-8Ug

The Under Armour ad is another step in a bold direction for Korine, whose aesthetics continue to evolve well into his career.     

Your Comment

6 Comments

Finally a good Steph Curry commercial.

October 25, 2016 at 5:03PM, Edited October 25, 5:03PM

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I think his "new look" has more to do with Benoit Debie.

October 25, 2016 at 5:36PM

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Pretty sure Harmony Korine just channeled Harmony Korine

October 25, 2016 at 7:08PM, Edited October 25, 7:08PM

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Jelly Tompkins
Filmmaker
81

This is nothing like Nicholas Winding Refn's style. Nicholas Winding Refn's visual style is not "F*ck it, just throw some neon in there once or twice." This is a lightly light, loose, largely handheld, and naturalistic style of shooting, whereas Neon Demon (and most of Refn's recent filmography) is extraordinarily deliberate, carefully lit with large, colorful sources, and is largely locked off so aspects like the lighting and set design can be as controlled as possible. The camera movement, lighting, and style are so different that I'm a little baffled as to why it's being compared to Refn's work. This ad visually looks more like Benoit Debie's work in Spring Breakers than anything.*

It's really disappointing to see forced clickbait headlines like this when you could just discuss the interesting elements of the ad itself without just weakly alluding that it looks like Refn's and calling it a day, especially since there are a lot of fascinating choices to discuss, like Korine's use of distance, movement and confrontational close ups.

* [A quick note: Refn has spoken on being inspired by Debie's work (notably his cinematography in Irreversible), though their styles differ greatly as a whole.]

October 26, 2016 at 12:31AM, Edited October 26, 12:31AM

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Jacob Floyd
Writer / Videographer
1325

Good points, although you could've said all that without sounding like an @ $ $ hole. You should just start your own film blog if your not satisfied with NFS's content.

October 27, 2016 at 8:58AM, Edited October 27, 8:58AM

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Adeel Kazim
Creative Director
99

November 14, 2017 at 7:04AM, Edited November 14, 7:04AM

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