The poster for "Only God Forgives," unveiled last November, teases a decidedly violent thriller with its simple yet disconcerting image of one of Hollywood's most handsome leading men, Ryan Gosling, beat to a disfiguring pulp. Now, the red-band trailer for the film makes for a vivid companion piece with its gorgeous imagery of smashing fists, flying bullets, swinging swords and an ever-stoic Gosling asking, "Wanna fight?"
We do, in fact!
"Only God Forgives" makes for one of the most highly anticipated films of the year (at least in certain circles) as it reunites Gosling with Nicolas Winding Refn, the director who guided him to cult hero status in 2011's neo-noir sleeper hit, "Drive."
The neon-drenched Los Angeles of Refn's '80s-style crime thriller is replaced with a lush, multi-colored Bangkok in "Only God Forgives," in which a criminal kingpin (Gosling) who runs a Thai boxing club as a front for his family's drug smuggling operation is forced by his ruthless mother (Kristin Scott Thomas) to track down and kill the individual responsible for his brother's death ... who ends up being a retired police officer who calls himself The Angel of Vengeance.
"Only God Forgives" looks to have the same kind of subdued yet extremely dangerous tone of "Drive," a film that mixed extended moments of characters just silently staring at each other with sudden bursts of extreme violence. Refn's love for gorgeous, dreamlike visuals is also on display here, though the particular style of "Only God Forgives" looks like it owes more to Wong Kar-wai than Michael Mann this time around.
Not surprisingly, the trailer is heavy on atmosphere and low on dialogue, giving us only a fleeting taste of a screenplay that Gosling himself has described as "The strangest thing I've ever read." However, we are treated to some new work by composer Cliff Martinez, who provided the excellent score for "Drive" -- the playful yet ominous music definitely seems to fit with Refn's own description of the film as one "set in a heightened reality ... it's a fairy tale."
Anyway, now begins the long, hard wait for "Only God Forgives" to hit theaters. The film is scheduled to be screened at Cannes in May and will hit U.S. theaters on July 19 ... which might as well be a hundred damn years from now.
Watch the Red Band Trailer for 'Only God Forgives' (Must be over 17)