Nicolas Winding Refn
Kristin Scott Thomas
Also living abroad is Julian’s older brother, Billy (Tom Burke, BBC’s The Hour). When Billy rapes and kills an underage prostitute, he winds up a corpse courtesy of the girl’s father. Well, mama doesn’t like that very much; and since mama (Kristin Scott Thomas) is a powerful figure herself in the crime world, she tasks Julian to avenge the murder. Meanwhile, a lieutenant named Chang (Vithaya Pansringarm, Sop-mai-ngeap), is making it known he has zero tolerance for seedy businesses and crime-oriented murders.
Cue the violence—once everyone wakes up.
Only God Forgives talks in whispers and moves in slow motion. It is directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, whose Drive kept him in the spotlight that Bronson helped turn on. His latest effort may look slick (courtesy of neon and smooth camera movements by Larry Smith), but it has no pulse. It’s barely even conscious.
It’s not that Only God Forgives is a boring picture; it’s just that so much feels so distant and detached. Anything that offers a glimpse of a better movie is immediately offset by awkwardness. For example, Kristin Scott Thomas gives a strangely alluring turn courtesy of loud costumes and feisty lines while Ryan Gosling never lifts a finger to be anything but a handsome man in the middle of a sleepwalk.
Only God Forgives was nominated for the Palme d’Or at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. After its screening, it was met with a wave of healthy boos. Even fans of Drive may not argue with that.
Behind the Scenes (23:27) is divided into 12 sections, which can be viewed separately or as a whole. They are: “The Drug Trade,” “Staging the Brothel Scene,” “Framing the Gun Fight,” “‘The Sword You Execute People With,’” “Slicing the Arm,” “Prepping for the Shootout,” “The Sincerest Form of Flattery,” “A face for Radio,” “On the Sets with Refn,” “The Tongue,” “Kendo Techniques,” and “‘Violence is Like Sex.’”
Director Interviews (12:05): There are two here: one with Mark Dinning, in which Refn discusses Thailand, and one with Bruno Igher, in which he touches on genre movies.
The Music of Only God Forgives with Cliff Martinez (9:10): Martinez discusses his musical background and how his score works for the film.