Only God Forgives: A Brutal and Stylish Crime Thriller
Only God Forgives is a 2013 action film written and directed by Nicolas Winding Refn and starring Ryan Gosling, Kristin Scott Thomas, and Vithaya Pansringarm. The film follows Julian (Gosling), an American expatriate who runs a boxing club in Bangkok as a front for his drug business. When his brother Billy (Tom Burke) is killed by a vengeful father after raping and murdering an underage prostitute, Julian's mother Crystal (Thomas) arrives in Thailand and demands that he find and kill the man responsible. However, Julian soon crosses paths with Chang (Pansringarm), a mysterious and ruthless police lieutenant who acts as a judge, jury, and executioner in the city's underworld.
Only God Forgives is a visually stunning and violent film that explores themes of guilt, redemption, and morality. The film was shot on location in Bangkok, Thailand, and features a striking use of colors, lighting, and music. The film's soundtrack was composed by Cliff Martinez, who also worked with Refn on his previous film Drive (2011). The film was dedicated to Chilean director Alejandro Jodorowsky, who is known for his surreal and psychedelic films.
Only God Forgives received mixed reviews from critics and audiences when it was released in 2013. Some praised the film's aesthetics, performances, and atmosphere, while others criticized the film's lack of plot, character development, and dialogue. The film was nominated for the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, where it was booed by some viewers but also received a standing ovation from others. The film has since gained a cult following among fans of Refn's style and genre.
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Only God Forgives is a film that divides audiences and critics alike. Some see it as a masterpiece of visual storytelling, while others see it as a pretentious and boring exercise in style over substance. The film's director, Nicolas Winding Refn, has said that he wanted to make a film that was like "an acid trip" and that he was inspired by his own dreams and nightmares. He has also said that he wanted to explore the idea of "the man who wants to fight God" and that he sees Julian as a modern Oedipus who is in love with his mother and hates his father.
The film's star, Ryan Gosling, who also collaborated with Refn on Drive, has said that he was attracted to the film's challenge and ambiguity. He has said that he liked playing a character who is passive and silent, and that he had to rely on his body language and facial expressions to convey his emotions. He has also said that he enjoyed working with Kristin Scott Thomas, who plays his mother Crystal, a ruthless and manipulative drug lord who dominates her son. Thomas has said that she had fun playing a villainous role that was very different from her usual roles, and that she based her performance on Donatella Versace.
The film's antagonist, Chang, is played by Vithaya Pansringarm, a Thai actor who had never acted in an English-language film before. He has said that he was nervous about working with Refn and Gosling, but that they made him feel comfortable and respected. He has also said that he learned how to use a sword for the film, and that he practiced every day for two months. He has said that he sees Chang as a moral character who believes in justice and karma, and that he does not enjoy killing people but does it as a duty. a474f39169