Thursday, June 27, 2013

A Readers Review of 'Only God Forgives' - warning spoilers

Gosloving reader Katie Harris aka @word_scribbler was lucky enough to attend a Q&A with Nicolas Winding Refn and see Only God Forgives.  She has been kind enough to share her review and thoughts with us!

*review contains major spoilers* *offensive language and disturbing scenes mentioned*

Only God Forgives review

Ok, so what do I say about Only God Forgives? I saw it tonight at a preview screening (it is released here in the UK on 2nd August).

First of all - Ryan is great. He shows his characters (Julian) psychotic tendencies and calculating ways just as brilliantly as his vulnerability and childlike qualities. He owns every scene he is in. Yes even the scene when he is being punched repeatedly in the face until he goes unconscious. Only God Forgives is like the darker, messed up, evil twin version of Drive.

Kristin Scott Thomas plays Ryan's mother Jenna and wow she is creepy. So in control. So commanding. So completely out of touch with reality. Such a departure from her usual roles, in looks aswell as personality.

The bad guy Chang - played by Vithaya Pansringarm - is bad. In the way dictators are bad. Torturing someone one minute and singing Karaoke the next. The contrasts are purposely shocking.

The ways director Nicolas Winding Refn described Only God Forgives in the Q&A after the screening - sadistic, perverse, sexual, with Oedipus undertones - and his subsequent comment that he makes films about what arouses him makes for an unsettling tone. The film is violent to the extreme. Yes it shows the characters but it feels at times to just be there. Seeing the graphic torture doesn't bring anything to the film to me. Some violence and some hinting at the rest would have done fine. It's there to shock, in my opinion, and nothing else.

I should say at this point that the only other film of Refn's I've seen is Drive, which I loved. I know he's made other equally violent films. After watching Only God Forgives I can honestly say this violence is not the kind of film I enjoy watching. During the slow drawn out torture scene myself, and many others i noticed in the cinema, looked away.

On a happier note there were some funny anecdotes. Here is a video of some of the Q&A. Nicolas was asked about the timing of Only God Forgives being made, and that Drive was made after Only God Forgives was written. He also talked about casting. (Ryan was not the original Julian).
See Katie's video of the Q&A here
There is a particularly memorable scene, ok there are lots of memorable scenes, but this one shocked me and made me laugh at the same time. Jenna, Julian and his girlfriend (aka a prostitute) are sitting at a table in a bar/restaurant. Jenna is being particularly rude towards the girlfriend. She starts discussing Julian's cock size compared to his (now dead) brother. The brother who is/was her favourite. The brother who was the biggest (yep...). Then she calls Julian's girlfriend a 'cum dumpster'. Google this if you don't know what this means. Or maybe don't. Anyway, this was mentioned in the Q&A. How did Nicolas come up with this insult? He asked Ryan! He asked Ryan to list all the worst ways to insult a woman. It was a long list. This was the first one. Nicolas had to ask Ryan what it meant and Ryan explained. Then when they were first on set and Kristin had the script she asked Nicolas what it meant and he had to explain ha ha.

Other memorable scenes (good and bad):
- Julian being tied to a chair with fabric around his wrists, whilst his girlfriend/prostitute masturbated in front of him.
- Julian demanding his girlfriend removes her dress (and therefore stand in underwear) in the middle of the street. And her doing what he asks.
- Julian/Ryan wearing a suit. Enough said.
- Julian fighting/boxing in suit/waistcoat/shirt ... before being punched unconscious
- the most disturbing scene - after finding his mother dead from knife wound Julian err... slides his fingers into the open wound and..yea. just no. (lets forget this scene) Ryan wearing a suit. repeat. Ryan wearing a suit...

I did enjoy the film overall. Ryan and Kristin (and others) acted well and were a credit to their characters and the storyline , but there were some extreme scenes that I wouldn't want to watch again. It is definitely not an easy film to watch.

review by Katie Harris aka @word_scribbler 
(Currently studying towards a BA Hons Degree in Creative Writing)

Katie was also lucky enough to get Nicolas's autograph


Saturday, June 15, 2013

Brand New 'Only God Forgives' trailer

"Kill them all"

Only God Forgives arrives on screens on July 19th and if it follows in Drive's footsteps may well 'kill' Ryan fans!!  Watch the new trailer below

"Tonally falling somewhere between "Valhalla Rising" and "Drive," the latest from Refn takes the neon slickness of the latter and gives it the slow burn treatment of the former for a truly unique experience. Dialogue is minimal (Ryan Gosling says less here than in "Drive," and much of the movie's dialogue is in Thai), and the story, by appearances, is thin (a vengeance tale, pitting two unstoppable men against each other), but the subtext running throughout is rich. Yes, Gosling's character has more to him than a five o'clock shadow and brooding visage, and when the blood comes...well, Refn doesn't hold back."

Source or follow @ThePlaylist on twitter

Sunday, June 2, 2013

No Sequel planned for 'Drive'

Nicolas Winding Refn confirmed in an interview with @ThePlaylist that there will not be a sequel to Drive:

“Drive” writer James Sallis has written a sequel “Driven” for which the movie is said to be in the pipeline. Have you been approached about that at all?
No. It’s never gonna happen. The movie’s not gonna get made, because they don’t have the key elements.

The key elements being you and Gosling?

And Gosling wouldn’t think of doing it without you?
I haven’t even thought about that, I mean...

But if it were to go ahead, what would your advice be to the filmmakers?

Don’t do it! Don’t do it. Well, what would they do?

Read the entire interview and hear Nicolas' response to the critics reaction to 'Only God Forgives' here

Source / Source 

Only God Forgives premieres in Cannes

Nicolas Winding Refn and members of the cast of Only God Forgives were in Cannes for the premiere. 

"Only God Forgives, which reunites Winding Refn with Drive star Ryan Gosling, is the first great schismatic movie at Cannes, with critics either panning its violence or dazzled by its stylised brilliance – or else wildly vacillating between the two positions."

Nicolas defended the violence:
"I don't consider myself a very violent man … but I have surely a fetish for violent emotions and images and I just can't explain where it comes from. But I do believe it's a way to exorcise various things. Let's not forget that humans were created very violent: our body parts are created for violence, it is our instinctual need to survive. But over the years we no longer need violence but we still have an urge from when we are born – which itself can be an act of violence."