Author Topic: Only God Forgives  (Read 11207 times)

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MacGuffin

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Re: Only God Forgives
« Reply #30 on: May 14, 2013, 08:30:00 AM »
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Nicolas Winding Refn: playing God
Nicolas Winding Refn’s Only God Forgives started as a fight movie and morphed into a twisted tale of a mother-son relationship. Wendy Mitchell talks to the Danish writer-director about his anticipated follow-up to Drive.
BY WENDY MITCHELL; Screen Daily

It was a place, not a story, that started Nicolas Winding Refn’s journey on his new film Only God Forgives, which premieres in Competition at Cannes.

“It started with having spent time in Asia on family vacations. We always make a point of stopping over in Bangkok because both my wife and I really like the city, in all its craziness. It’s an extremely cinematic place and I think if you really wanted to do a movie in Bangkok, that’s what started it,” he remembers.

When he had to pitch a synopsis to backers Gaumont and Wild Bunch, he says with a laugh, “I came up with a fight movie, because that was an easy sell.” There is certainly some fighting in the film, but ultimately it has become a story of a fraught mother-son relationship.

Ryan Gosling — reuniting with Refn after their success on Drive — plays Julian, a drug smuggler and Bangkok boxing club owner. His controlling American mother (a very against-type Kristin Scott Thomas) urges Julian to avenge his brother’s death. A corrupt police lieutenant, Chang (Vithaya Pansringarm), plots against them.

“He is like a sleepwalker awaiting to awake,” Refn says of the emotionally stunted Julian, who is completely under his mother’s thumb.

The film has a dark, fairytale-like atmosphere of heightened reality. “It is about finding that balance where you have to walk between heaven and hell; if you tip over in any direction of being too real or too unreal, you would fail miserably,” Refn says.

The writer-director originally started the script for Only God Forgives before he made Drive, which won Refn the best director prize at Cannes in 2011. He says the script “changed immensely” from that pre-Drive version. “That’s what happens with everything I do. A lot of it has to do with shooting in chronological order, which very much changes your approach because the film is in constant evolution.” He also let the experience of living in Bangkok influence the mystical elements of the film.

Only God Forgives shows Bangkok in a way never before seen on film. “I decided to shoot everything at night, it’s very different from seeing it during the day. So it became like its own alien planet. That had a huge influence,” Refn explains. He shot in little-seen locations such as a seedy bar in Chinatown, where many film-makers do not dare explore. Working with his $5m budget, Refn used mostly Thai crew alongside a few western heads of department such as cinematographer Larry Smith and production designer Beth Mickle.

The locals impressed them. “The Thai crew was equally as good [as those in Los Angeles]. There was an extreme want to make it work.”

Luke Evans was attached originally but dropped out due to scheduling conflicts, so Refn jumped at the chance to work with Gosling again so soon after Drive. “We wanted to figure out very quickly how we could make another film together. I think God had a plan.”

He knows there will be comparisons to Drive, especially with Gosling leading both projects. “Everything I do probably has a strong relationship to each other, and once you use the same actor it’s a very easy equation until you’ve seen [both films],” he says.

Danish influence

Refn, who famously turned down a place at the National Film School of Denmark to make his directorial debut Pusher in 1996, notes that despite its Thai setting, Only God Forgives is a Danish-led production by his Copenhagen outfit Space Rocket Nation (with producer Lene Borglum). In addition to crucial backing from Gaumont and Wild Bunch, the Danish Film Institute’s funding was “hugely influential in getting the film made”. He says proudly of the Danish support system: “Denmark has produced more talent than anyone else in the last 10-15 years.”

But Refn’s ambitions stretch beyond Denmark. Future projects include a second film with Wild Bunch and Gaumont, I Walk With The Dead, a Los Angeles-set thriller he is writing now. He will also produce a remake of William Lustig’s Maniac Cop. Graphic novelist Ed Brubaker will write the script but no director is yet attached.

He is also directing his first TV show, Barbarella, with Gaumont. That English-language project will shoot at the end of 2013 or early 2014. It marks his first project with a female lead character — he jokes: “We did toy with the idea of what Ryan would look like in a catsuit.”

He and Gosling had planned to remake Logan’s Run, but now Refn says that project is on hold while they look for a comedy to make. Perhaps the catsuit could be the perfect starting point…
“Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” - Andy Warhol


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Lottery

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Re: Only God Forgives
« Reply #32 on: May 22, 2013, 05:44:52 AM »
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Not getting the most positive response at Cannes it seems.

cinemanarchist

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My assholeness knows no bounds.

Lottery

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Re: Only God Forgives
« Reply #34 on: May 22, 2013, 09:56:47 AM »
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http://www.hollywood-elsewhere.com/2013/05/stink-in-the-morning-air/ Jeff Wells does not.

Ha, true vitriol. I wish he didn't use bold text though, the review was pretty entertaining.

©brad

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Re: Only God Forgives
« Reply #35 on: May 22, 2013, 10:06:16 AM »
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Vulture did not care for it either.

Drenk

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Re: Only God Forgives
« Reply #36 on: May 22, 2013, 11:46:22 AM »
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I liked it. It's a stylized nightmare, kitsch, sometimes funny, Kubrick meets Lynch. The story is very simple, it's just that and Refn being radical with his filmaking. But I don't want to see it again.
I'm so many people.

Pubrick

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Re: Only God Forgives
« Reply #37 on: May 22, 2013, 12:41:53 PM »
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well, we'll always have the trailers.
under the paving stones.

wilder

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Re: Only God Forgives
« Reply #38 on: May 22, 2013, 02:01:04 PM »
+1

max from fearless

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Re: Only God Forgives
« Reply #39 on: May 22, 2013, 07:51:42 PM »
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Also saw it this morning, I didn't care for it that much. (Not a huge fan of Drive either, but I really love the Pusher Trilogy, especially the last two) I want to see OGF again though, as the power went out a quarter of the way into the screening, just as Kristin Scott Thomas' character was being introduced (She's hilarious in it) And the movie is very much like a spell, or a dream film. Throughout I couldn't stop thinking about how it reminded me of Eyes Wide Shut and The Shining. Even though it's super violent there is a lot more going on, to what ends though, I'm not yet sure. Again the same kind thing with the new Claire Denis...

Kellen

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Re: Only God Forgives
« Reply #40 on: May 23, 2013, 12:33:16 AM »
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Mark Adams, Screen Daily:

"A mesmerisingly moody and stylishly violent crime drama."

Ryland Aldrich, Twitch:

"Get ready, the most badass art film ever is coming your way."

Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian:

"An emotionally breathtaking, aesthetically brilliant and immensely violent thriller."

Dave Calhoun, Time Out London:

"Style over substance doesn’t really tell the half of it: you can bathe a corpse in groovy light and dress it in an expensive suit, but in the end that rotting smell just won't go away."

Peter Debruge, Variety:

"As hyper-aggressive revenge fantasies go, it's curious to see one so devoid of feeling."

Jessica Kiang, The Playlist:

"Delivers what we might have thought we wanted but with diminishing returns: Refn's trademark visual style is indulged to a dizzying degree (to an almost self-parodic extreme in the early stages) but is unmoored to any kind of satisfying or coherent narrative throughline."

Geoffrey Macnab, The Independent:

"Visually, this is stunning fare."

David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter:

"A menacingly atmospheric mood piece that will not disappoint devotees of the Nicolas Winding Refn church of fetishistic hyper-violence."

Sasha Stone, Awards Daily:

"This film, 'Only God Forgives,' is a single layer deep. There is nothing more to it."

Jeffrey Wells, Hollywood Elsewhere:

"Movies really don't get much worse than Nicholas Winding Refn's 'Only God Forgives.' It's a shit macho fantasy."

Damon Wise, Empire:

"Larry Smith's cinematography is superb, and his crisp, sometimes hallucinatory visuals are complimented by Cliff Martinez's thrumming score."

03

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Re: Only God Forgives
« Reply #41 on: May 23, 2013, 10:04:47 AM »
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ok so not everyone in the world hates it. good. that was the impression i got as of yesterday. i'm still going to see it regardless.

Kellen

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Re: Only God Forgives
« Reply #42 on: May 23, 2013, 11:41:50 AM »
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'Only God Forgives' director defends violent film (little spoiler in there)

Andrew O'hehir's take (haven't read don't know about spoilers really)

Am I Blue? Cannes Report, May 22

Refn and Kristin Scott Thomas


Also, I don't get why everyone is freaking out about the film getting boos, It seems like everything gets booed at Cannes.

Kellen

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Re: Only God Forgives
« Reply #43 on: May 23, 2013, 01:47:40 PM »
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Some more reactions to the flick:

“The sudden outburst of rage, the slowed down movement of characters and the longing stares do feel at home for the director, by now, but is that enough to keep you interested?” - Raffi Asdourian, Twitch Film

“Refn’s latest is likely to be massively divisive and such controversy will undoubtedly be welcomed, but unfortunately it all feels too mannered, too purposefully provocative – like being shouted at by someone who has nothing themselves to contribute.” - John Bleasdale, Cine-Vue

“Winding Refn’s latest film, which screened in Cannes to enthusiastic boos on Wednesday morning, is a sickening pornography of violence, and I mean that as a sincere compliment.” - Robbie Collin, Daily Telegraph

“Refn certainly retains his eye for composition and his innate sense for creating a hypnotic environment. But without a second, let alone third, dimension to this story, there’s little left to thematically consider and deconstruct.” - Jordan Cronk, Slant

“Only God Forgives continually sports head-on collisions of arthouse and trash, pitting extended dream sequences against katana- uzi-weilding cops. The resulting sparks are hard to interpret; it requires a second viewing to determine if Refn is all style and no substance or if there is a worthwhile reading in Refn’s sadistic set pieces.” - Alex Griffith, Next Projection

“If anything, Only God Forgives proves that Refn is out to create something akin to a kind of red-light-district cinema. Compositions are excessively balanced and held for long amounts of time. These images are meant to be watched and desired, lusted after simply because they evoke a form of evocative skin-deep arousal.” - Glenn Heath Jr., Press Play

“There’s no way to overstate the gorgeous look of this film, but the mannered dialogue and deliberateness of pace becomes less of an homage to Asian revenge films than a parody.” - Jordan Hoffman, Film.com

“Sure, people in this film bleed and bleed—Refn drops a bomb on the cast—but it’s not because it’s a movie that we know the violence isn’t real. It’s not real because we aren’t given anything other than lifeless characters in an immobile stage play—a juvenile reading of Greek tragedy—for the damage to be dealt effectively.” - Jake Howel, Movie City News

“There’s a scene in Refn’s Bronson where a character smears his own shit all over himself and all over the walls of his cell. I kept thinking of that as Only God Forgives did the same thing to the movie screen and the audience at the Grand Theatre Lumiere here at Cannes.” - Craig Kennedy, Living in Cinema  :shock:

“Even amid my appreciation for its woozy, sculpted grossness, however, I can’t help wishing “Only God Forgives” was doing a little more, and I mean purely on the level of nuts-and-bolts storytelling, not grander emotional or thematic resonance.” - Guy Lodge, Hit Fix

“What’s truly lacking here is any sense of Thailand. There is no cultural context, no feel for the city, its history or society, and the film feels  like the work of someone who’s only understanding of Bangkok was a viewing of Ong Bak and a Lonely Planet guidebook.” - David Neary, Next Projection

“The movie has tunnel vision, and while it occasionally breaks — there’s a cheeky, recurring gag of the cop singing karaoke — that sense of humor and personality never rounds out Only God Forgives.” - Matt Patches, Hollywood.com

“All this swimming in a cesspool of violence and debauchery could at least hold some visceral pleasures but Only God Forgives is actually a pretty drudging affair and even at just ninety minutes it really drags.” - Criag Skinner, Hey U Guys

“He clearly thinks he’s saying something profound with this laboriously overproduced dross, and I’m content to let him go on thinking.” - Keith Uhlich, Time Out New York

“Whether gliding ominously down long, lavishly decorated corridors or fixed between door frames looking into perfectly symmetrical rooms, Refn’s voyeuristic lens gives the film a hypnotic, haunting feel.” - Adam Woodward, Little White Lies

BB

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Re: Only God Forgives
« Reply #44 on: May 23, 2013, 10:49:31 PM »
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"Larry Smith's cinematography..."

Didn't realize he shot this. Bronson and Fear X too apparently. Interesting?   

 

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