Directed by Danish Nicolas Winding Refn, filmed in Bangkok, Only God Forgives is now in Bangkok cinemas! For the opening, the Danish director discusses what happens when the logic of the West meets the mysticism of the East.
With serene conviction, Nicolas Winding Refn baptises Bangkok as the new capital of Hell. In the blood-lusting new movie Only God Forgives, the Danish director transforms our city of lost angels into a delirious nightmare, even a torture chamber, as his American characters face the nihilistic retribution of their own making, with a lot of help from Oriental mysticism.
Only God Forgives premiered at Cannes Film Festival in May, and it instantly drew bricks, boos and flowers. The film tells the story of Julian, played by Ryan Gosling, an American man who runs a Muay Thai camp in Bangkok with his brother. When this brother is brutally killed in a whorehouse (there’s always a whorehouse), Julian’s mother, played with relish by Kristin Scott Thomas, arrives in the city, and together with her remaining son sets out to take revenge.
That leads them to a confrontation with Chang (Vithaya Pansrigram), a Buddha-like ex-cop who likes to cut people open with his samurai sword. The film also stars Thai actress Ratha Pho-ngarm as Julian’s girlfriend.
Filmed entirely in Bangkok last year, Only God Forgives is about Western self-destruction and Asian mystique. It’s also, to an extent, about Julian’s Oedipus complex, and altogether it makes it one of the most anticipated movies of the year, despite the mixed responses from Cannes (last month, the film won the top prize at Sydney International Film Festival).