By Matt Singer | Criticwire May 22, 2013 at 9:33AM
The Cannes Review Report rounds up each day's notable premieres, along with a sampling of their reviews and tweets from the south of France. Here's the reaction to "Only God Forgives," the new film from Nicolas Winding Refn, the director of "Drive."
"Only God Forgives"
Director: Nicolas Winding Refn
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Kristin Scott Thomas, Vithaya Pansringarm
Synopsis: "Julian, an American fugitive from justice, runs a boxing club in Bangkok as a front for his drug business. His mother, the head of a vast criminal organization, arrives from the US to collect the body of her favorite son, Billy. Julian’s brother has just been killed after having savagely murdered a young prostitute. Crazy with rage and thirsty for vengeance she demands the head of the murderers from Julian. But first, Julian must confront Chang, a mysterious retired policeman -- and figurehead of a divine justice -- who has resolved to scourge the corrupt underworld of brothels and fight clubs."
"A mesmerisingly moody and stylishly violent crime drama."
"Get ready, the most badass art film ever is coming your way."
"An emotionally breathtaking, aesthetically brilliant and immensely violent thriller."
"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."
"As hyper-aggressive revenge fantasies go, it's curious to see one so devoid of feeling."
"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."
"Visually, this is stunning fare."
"A menacingly atmospheric mood piece that will not disappoint devotees of the Nicolas Winding Refn church of fetishistic hyper-violence."
"This film, 'Only God Forgives,' is a single layer deep. There is nothing more to it."
"Movies really don't get much worse than Nicholas Winding Refn's 'Only God Forgives.' It's a shit macho fantasy."
"Larry Smith's cinematography is superb, and his crisp, sometimes hallucinatory visuals are complimented by Cliff Martinez's thrumming score."
"Only God Forgives is a beautiful disaster. Really doesn't work in the slightest, but very happy it exists. #Cannes2013"
"Only God Forgives: despite a stoic Gosling, closer to what Refn's done besides Drive/Pusher - slow, surreal, occasionally violent. #Cannes"
"I am officially announcing that ONLY GOD FORGIVES gets better the more you think about it."
"ONLY GOD FORGIVES (C+) Sort of transfixing as lacquered blood ballet; as storytelling, it never shows up. Crushing on KST et Cliff Martinez."
"Hilarious number of journos at #Cannes2013 post-ONLY GOD FORGIVES now saying: "Well, I take back what I wrote about DRIVE/BRONSON etc etc."