Fans of "Drive" should rejoice, as the second collaboration between director Nicolas Winding Refn and star Ryan Gosling, "Only God Forgives," looks to be quite the companion piece to the 2011 cult favorite.
Indeed, as our exclusive trailer below shows, all of the pretty colors, cool emotional detachment and retro electronica grooves seem to have been transported from southern California to Thailand for another violent tale of bitter revenge with minimal dialogue.
"I know it's hard for you ... emotionally," says Kristin Scott Thomas's Lady Macbeth-ish underworld matriarch in the new trailer for the film, almost making fun of Gosling's trademark dreamy-yet-vaguely-blank-looks. Gosling then stomps around the seediest areas of Bangkok in search of his brother's killer, a mysterious figure named Chang (Vithaya Pansringarm, sporting his own vaguely-blank-looks as he unsheathes swords and creeps around meticulously art-directed shopping malls and night clubs).
The imagery of the trailer is stunning, recalling the surreal color schemes of the films of Wong Kar-wai, but without the Chinese auteur's sense of romanticism, don't you think?Refn's is a dangerous and, well, unforgiving kingdom, one where Thomas rules supreme as she indulges in random emotional outbursts, and over-the-top but certainly impressionable overcompensation for everyone else's silent stoicism.
This mad Queen can be sweet, too, albeit in the most subversive way possible as the trailer hints at some of the, er, complications of the central mother-son relationship. Thomas is seen seductively caressing Gosling's arm as she purrs in voiceover, "I have a very special relationship with my son" — that there's something incestuous going on between these two isn't so much a surprise as it is inevitable as Refn traverses another world of creeping evil and forbidden desires.
The trailer also hints at the shockingly brutal violence that was on display in the previously released red band trailer and that polarized audiences at last month's Cannes Film Festival. Refn is indeed the guy who brought us the now-infamous face-stomping scene in "Drive" — "Only God Forgives" looks like it's an exercise in which the director might be trying to top himself in the blood n' guts department.
Anyway, Refn's certainly not one to give his star very much dialogue — the handful of lines Gosling mutters in the trailer might very well be 50% of what he says in the entire movie. Not that Gosling needs a lot of talk to be effective, but again, it's almost flirting with self-parody at this point.
Ultimately, "Only God Forgives" looks like a devilish bit of alternative summer movie entertainment, one that probably won't win Refn any new fans but will certainly please the already initiated. The film hits theaters on July 19.