lørdag 9. november 2013

Netflix premiere: November 16th 2013 - Only God Forgives (Refn)

Nicolas Winding Refn burst onto the Nordic film scene with the energetic Pusher (1996), a fast paced drug-underworld piece with good dialogue, a healthy dose of comic relief and great performances (in particular from Kim Bodnia - "The Danish de Niro"). Already at this point, however, Refn had his critics, citing the use of violence in the movie as exaggerated and gratuitous. He found a larger audience with Drive (2011), behind the star power of Ryan Gosling and a much larger machinery of promotion and distribution.

The Danish director is back in tandem with Ryan Gosling for Only God Forgives. Only God Forgives is not a carbon copy of Drive, by any means, though. Although, visually, there are points of connnection, the pace is slower and Gosling's character is less expressive. The movie is rich in symbolism, and leans more on inviting its audience to discover and contemplate on deeper thematics. If you find some of the reason for the slow pace in the paralyzing effect on Gosling's character by his mother, you are more likely to stay with it. If you dislike active decoding and thematic contemplation, there will be less for you here.    

The narration is highly alternative, and the cinematography cyberpunkically neonesque. Gosling stars as a narcotics smuggler in Bangkok, whose mother edges him to avenge the death of his brother. It has been said that it is a western movie motif transplanted to the exotic orient. Winding Refn has stated that the movie is designed to explore the consequences of actions.

What we get are slow, drawn out sequences interspersed by aesthethically ambitious scenes of brutal violence, giving the movie a 'brutiful' quality. Female lead Kristin Scott Thomas has called the movie 'disturbing' and 'hard to watch', so warnings are in place. Indeed, the movie is dedicated to Chilean-French filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky - who has made a name for himself delving into the shocking and violent.

Jodorowsky, as a side note, is a cult-director worth looking into if you are a movie-buff, at one time receiving $1 million in financing from John Lennon and a versatile artist also writing for the scene and making comics.

Imdb's: Nicolas Winding Refn, Ryan Gosling, Kristin Scott Thomas, Pusher, Drive, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Kim Bodnia, Only God Forgives

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