ONLY GOD FORGIVES: REVIEW


The Driver (Ryan Gosling) has been having ‘One Night in Bangkok’ for a few years, running a boxing club and drug dealing, when his big brother gets himself offed. Cue their mother (Kristin Scott Thomaswho turns up looking like Cameron Diaz’s young Ma and trash-talks Driver into seeking revenge from a local policeman (Vithaya Pansringarm), who with his choppy sword and his impassive face is behaving like Charles Bronson on Xanax.

Nicholas Winding Refn has self-consciously made a Midnight Movie, a thin blade of a film with lashings of Ultra Violence, body horror and a hypnotically threatening soundtrack by Cliff Martinez. The story is slight and no more than an excuse for certain key scenes – the boxing match being an obvious centre piece – and the characters likewise are an exercise in style, with Gosling producing a particularly somnambulant parody of himself. 
Channelling his inner David Lynch, Winding Refn has made a good looking film, but it feels like the work of a nice boy playing at bad; a geek grasping for cool, a European dabbling in the icky-ness of the East.