Having received much critical acclaim for their work on one of the best films of 2011, ‘Drive’, Ryan Gosling is once again teaming up with director Nicolas Winding Refn again for ‘Only God Forgives’. The red band trailer just dropped, and it looks pretty bad ass.
Clearly, Refn and Gosling are looking to recapture some of the magic they found with ‘Drive,’ which was one of the surprise hits of 2011. My fellow writer, Angry Critic, considers drive to be his favorite film of that year, and for good reason. The film was fantastic. It was dark, well acted, violent, stylish, cool and quite frankly very original and different to anything we had seen. It was bizarre without being too weird to be cool. Plus, without sounding like I have a man crush, Ryan Gosling is just the man and he is the coolest guy in Hollywood.
‘Only God Forgives’ takes place in the brutal underworlds of Bangkok, China, and appears to follow a very similar style and vibe to Refn’s previous effort. The details we know are that the film centers around a fight between a police officer and a Bangkok gangster, and by fight I mean organized Thai-Boxing match. Apparently this fight will be revenge based in some way, or will be an attempt to settle differences and exactly what these differences are we are unsure. However, the suggestion is that perhaps there was a family member killed. The assumption would be that Julian (Gosling’s character) is out to avenge the death of someone he knows at the hands of this gangster, but based on the dark and original style, perhaps it could be the other way around?
The trailer also shows us shots of Kristen Scott Thomas, who is set to play Julian’s mother in the film, and how this role will pan out we don’t know exactly. However, Thomas is a fantastic actress who has proven her abilities in a variety of movies, including some fantastic french films. This seems to me like a very new type of role for her, so it will be great to see how she excels in it.
What we see from the trailer is a lot of darkness, and a sort of “underground” vibe. Combine this with odd music choices, and some bold use of color and camera work, and you can see Refn’s unique stylistic methods coming through again. We are also hinted towards some of the extreme and graphic violence that the film is going to include, which according to Gosling, will be even more extreme than that in ‘Drive.’ This is surprising because Drive was freaking brutal at times, but I guess the Bangkok underworld is probably a pretty messed up place. In particular we see a glimpse of Gosling dragging a man down a hallway by his front teeth, along with carious images of a samurai sword that is just destined to dismember body parts at a rapid clip.
My only fear for the film, is that with the same director, same star actor and clearly similar visual and storytelling style, that things will be a little too similar to ‘Drive’ and will not define itself as it’s own film. If it is able to avoid this though, I can predict that this will be one of my favorite movies of the year, whichever year that proves to be. There isn’t an official release date we know of, but this will likely be determined after the film debuts at Cannes.
Will Gosling and Refn do it again?