Dancing between Darkness and Light
Nicolas Winding Refn does have an exciting mind. Even if I can’t quite pronounce his name right, I became a fan of the filmmaker after watching Drive. In both films I find his timing fascinating, I love that he clearly doesn’t care about the norm, and knows how to break boundaries. Only God Forgives is a tale of loneliness exposing violence, in the underground Bangkok scene. Thailand is a fast developing country and there is a vivid culture clash, except that everyone understands the idea of revenge and knows when they did something bad: that stuff is pretty universal.
I missed out on the Spring premiere of the almost horror thriller at the Cannes Film Festival, and was thrilled to see it on the marquee of New York City’s Angelika Theater already this summer. Great to see it’s already on Netflix, I was able to re-watch more closely, pausing when I felt like it. These varied distribution modalities do give the film audience a freedom we didn’t use have, that can strengthen our history with a particular film.
Ryan Gosling is Julian, our muse and a total looser, who goes to war in a vest and gets beaten up. His brother is dead and had it coming. Kritsin Scott Thomas is a horrific mother who will never understand her son, reminiscing of a caricature of my upstairs neighbor. Then we have Vithaya Pansringarm, the friendly bad guy, who is actually the good guy in the story, and gets to take care of everyone without an ounce of emotion. He is a cop and his duty is to do what’s right, and handles his business like a religion, except he does not forgive.
—You wanna fight?
There is no hero, or no good and bad. The story evolves as a choreographed dance where none of the actors blink or smile. The pace is Mulholland Drive-esque, if feels like the characters do not react and we anticipate with them every inch of their fatal destiny. The action is mainly bloody and quiet, with a really neat soundtrack that give an edgy feel to the city. Even though the picture sustain a dark tone throughout, the use of light is quite poetic. Everyone dies differently depending what they did wrong, sword is the weapon of choice. Not everyone dies.
—I’m gonna take care of the yellow nigger that killed my son.