Two art-house films in a row? Someone at Lovefilm doesn’t like me.


Directed by: Nicolas Winding Refn

Written by: Nicolas Winding Refn

Featuring: Ryan Gosling, Kristin Scott Thomas, Vithaya Pansringarm,
Yayaying Rhatha Phongam

Ten years previously Julian, a Bangkok drug dealer, killed his father and went on the run. As a side business he manages a Thai boxing club. Julian’s brother, Billy, murders an underage prostitute, garnering the attention of the police and in particular Chang – the Angel of Vengeance. Chang allows the father of the prostitute to kill Billy, then chops off the man’s right hand as punishment. Then Julian and Billy’s mother Crystal, a powerful drug lord herself, arrives to collect her Billy’s body. Being the woman she is, she takes it upon herself to revenge Billy and this brings her, Julian and his drug cartel into direct conflict with Chang….

This is a strange slow film, with a tailor’s dummy that looks like Ryan Gosling being in many scenes. Truthfully, hunk of the moment, Gosling could easily have been played by me with a Ryan Gosling mask on. He says very little and has several scenes where he sits and stares motionless at the camera or other actors and does nothing. One particularly hilarious scene with his mother, Kirstin Scott-Thomas, who goes ‘off on one’ insulting him and his ‘girlfriend’ at a dinner springs to mind. I’m not sure they took a still of him sitting at the table and he went back to the hotel after that, had the day off and they edited the picture in. He moves and reacts that little.

Much like a Field in England, this is definitely painted with the ‘art-house’ brush but unlike that film it had my attention for a lot longer. Certainly more than another art-house film I have tried to watch recently Holy Motors, which I confess I never finished and therefore never reviewed it.

Kirstin Scott-Thomas is, as usual, good and Vithaya Pansringarm as Chang is as emotionless and weird as Gosling but he pulls it off much better. He is like some Thai terminator and although his character is preposterous he somehow makes him realistic. The story such as it is meanders between violent bloody scenes, a little dialogue and weird dream sequences.

Think David Lynch in Asia with psycho’ cops and criminals.

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