Only God Forgives (B&W) Battered

Nicolas Winding Refn (Bronson, Drive) has employed images of serious violence in the past; his first team-up with Ryan Gosling featured both intimidating threats and gory action. Now we’ve got the first footage from their second film pairing, Only God Forgives, a violent revenge-thriller “western” set in Bangkok.

Gosling plays a boxer and drug smuggler pressed into vengeful action when his brother is killed. This trailer isn’t terribly gory, but it is laden with the heavy air of things just about to go really, really wrong. The color in the images, combined with the music and a sense of floating, suggest that this is a story that descends into the same psychological space as Bronson. This time, however, Refn has more resources at his disposal.

And yet, more than anything else, it’s the opening dialogue from Kristen Scott Thomas, playing the mother of Gosling’s character, that gives me chills. Compared  to that, Gosling’s invitation at the end of the trailer seems almost polite.

Only God Forgives opens on July 19, reports The Film Stage.

Julian (Gosling) lives in exile in Bangkok where he runs a Thai boxing club as a front for the family’s drugs smuggling operation. When Julian’s brother Billy is killed their mother, Jenna (Kristen Scott Thomas), arrives in the city. She wants revenge and forces Julian to find the killer. Julian’s contacts in the criminal underworld lead him directly to The Angel of Vengeance, a retired police officer who knows everything and who is both Judge and Punisher. Jenna demands that Julian kill The Angel of Vengeance, an act that will cost him dearly.

 

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