Nicolas Winding Refn follows up the much-celebrated noir-soaked actioner Drive
with Only God Forgives
, another deep descent into the hyper-stylized world of violence and machismo. Once again partnering with Ryan Gosling, Refn lures audiences into the criminal underground in Bangkok where a drug smuggler named Julian (Gosling) must navigate treacherous waters that get even murkier when his domineering mother (Kristin Scott Thomas) coerces him to seek revenge against a powerful mob boss (Vithaya Pansringarm) for the death of his brother.
Despite the less than enthusiastic critical response that greeted the film during its festival engagements, I’ve been sold on it from the start, thanks to the presence of Thomas who is proving to be a force to be reckoned with. Now open at Esquire Theatre. (R) Not screened in time for review.