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Watch: 3 Stylish & Violent Clips From Nicolas Winding Refn's 'Only God Forgives'

by Kevin Jagernauth
April 27, 2013 10:41 PM
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While the story behind "Only God Forgives" will be the reunion between "Drive" director and star, Nicolas Winding Refn and Ryan Gosling, is it too early to declare that Kristin Scott Thomas might steal the show? Possibly, but in these three new clips from the movie she stands tall above the whiskey glass smashing and chase sequences.

Refn has always been a filmmaker with impeccable visual taste, and here it seems to be in full command. From Gosling calmly, mutely clenching his fists and then unhurriedly waiting to beat on someone to a very calmly unfolding cat and mouse came through the streets of Bangkok, Refn controls every frame, but will it be too much? Leave it to Scott Thomas then to truly make the screen sizzle first by calling Gosling's female companion a cumdumpster and then going on to describe the differing cock sizes between her two sons. It's great, hilarious, dark stuff.

See for yourself below. "Only God Forgives" hits Cannes next month and opens on July 19th. [Cine Republic]

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  • Michael M. | May 10, 2013 10:29 AMReply

    This is a highly subversive work of art-house craftsmanship. It's what we define as high-art/culture. Grow a brain, quit bitching and marvel at the sheer ingenuity for once. I'm more than satisfied with Refn's stylized methodology, this is cinema.
    Thank god none of you are involved in the film-making industry.

  • Alex | April 29, 2013 10:59 AMReply

    Gosling broods. Gosling walks slow motion. Gosling barely speaks and when he does it, it's really SLOWLY. Guns and violence. The end.

    Same for every single Ryan gosling movie.

  • Susan | June 9, 2013 11:49 PM

    Alex Michael M. is right, you don't know what you are talking about, Ryan Gosling is a magnetic powerful actor. If you were in the business you never would have said that. That's how the script was written, for that part. It doesn't mean he is that way, its just a movie. But a very very powerful on in that it really shows you the way it really is in that world.
    Don't watch him if you don't like him, but he is at the top of his craft, and your not.

  • Washington | April 30, 2013 1:41 AM

    Yeah those are my favorite parts of The Notebook and Crazy Stupid Love and Half Nelson and Lars and the Real Girl and Blue Valentine and the Ides of March.

  • Ted | April 29, 2013 1:56 PM

    Not Place Beyond The Pines. That's just the first forty-five minutes.

  • Bobby | April 28, 2013 11:04 PMReply

    Bullshit bullshit bullshit. Emptiness and pretty colors. Oh and a train wreck. Everybody likes a train wreck. Or a plane crash. Oh he through some grease in a guys face. That's so clever. Gosling is lost in his own pretense. And what KST is doing isn't actually very difficult. If the director wasn't so good at making you smell his farts you might notice there's no real story. Or not one that he knows anything about.

  • Oscar Stegland | May 14, 2013 9:54 AM

    How the fuck do you know how difficult KST's role is? You're basing this off a short dialog snippet that says she's upset. It says nothing more of her character except that she's upset about the fact that her lesser son deals drugs and sleeps with hookers.

    There are so many self-professed experts on acting out there who believe anything that's less showy than the joker to be easy. A lot of actors get type-cast 'cause they can't keep their mouths shut. They just don't realize the value of restraint (or it's the director). Django was imo the best performance of Jamie Foxx's career. Why? Because I couldn't recognize Foxx in it, because he restrained himself. He turned into a believable badass of few words.

    What was great about Brando? Instead of yapping his mouth off á la theatre and delivering what was in the script, he created a 3-dimensional character that could say just as much without opening his mouth.

    I'm not necessarily saying you're one of them, but making a statement such as yours is plain wrong. You have no idea. You don't know the script, you don't know much about her character, and most of all, just becoming someone else on screen without coming off as though you're trying is an accomplishment in and of itself. I suggest you see the film before hacking its performances to bits.

  • tristan eldritch | April 29, 2013 6:45 AM

    lol, what did Refn ever do to you, apart from becoming vastly more successful?

  • FilmAddict | April 28, 2013 8:47 PMReply

    I can't be the only one to think these clips signal a cringe-worthy movie ahead, can I? These characters, they way they act are not representation of 'real', 'truthful' in any sense. They behave like cartoon characters now. The violence and the stylisation of it are laughable and videogame-like. Nice visuals but ultimately empty...

  • Oscar Stegland | May 14, 2013 9:48 AM

    David Lynch's films do very little to appear 'truthful' yet he's celebrated as one of the greatest filmmakers of all time. I don't really see the problem here, and as far as this film is concerned, these clips just heighten my anticipation.

    Also, it seems a lot of the Gosling comments on here seem to come from people who discovered him through Drive, where he plays a very introvert and silent character. The man has incredible range and if anyone can make a fictional character and make him 'real' it's Gosling. Watch some of his other stuff before the critique, cause it's baseless.

  • filmaddict | April 28, 2013 10:43 PM

    By 'real' i don't mean Refn has to go all cinema verite style but i mean truthfulness. Pixar talking fishes demonstrated more truthfulness than Gosling and Scott Thomas here i'm afraid.

  • Washington | April 28, 2013 9:19 PM

    You can make anything you want in a movie, why be limited by what's "real"

  • hank | April 28, 2013 2:02 PMReply

    wow that first clip was stylish and incredible with the dialogue spot on and pitch perfect and Gosling was electrifying even though he just sat there like a mummified corpse. So excited

  • caro | April 28, 2013 11:38 AMReply

    Kirstin Scott Thomas looks ugly physically in this movie and it would be nice if Gosling again talks in the movies now

  • Adam Scott Thompson | April 28, 2013 9:33 AMReply

    Ha! Made me think of Al Green when he threw that hot grease in the assassin's face. Kristin Scott Thomas has always been a great yet underrated actor. Provided her role is all that's been advertised, maybe the Academy will show her some love -- if only to atone for Albert Brooks.

  • KT | April 28, 2013 9:29 AMReply

    The soundtrack for this is gonna be stellar.

  • Alan B | April 28, 2013 5:32 AMReply

    This isn't a complaint, but I think this film will be far more divisive amongst critics than 'Drive'. Whilst The Driver was a sociopath, you could still empathize with his motivation: to protect Irene and her son. In this film, Gosling's character is a drug-smuggling(!) fugitive(!!) who killed a cop(!!!) and is tasked by his gangster mother(!!!!) to avenge the death of his brother ... who was killed for murdering a prostitute(!!!!!). Who can identify with ANY OF THIS?

  • Alan B | May 1, 2013 4:04 AM

    No, you DON'T GET IT and you probably never will. POV characters is something that is pivotal in NARRATIVE filmmaking and art, and has ALWAYS BEEN. Why does Shakespeare FREQUENTLY cut to OTHER CHARACTERS in Hamlet? Why did Billy Wilder include the Robinson character at all, if he wasn't important to the story? All your answers seem to be "well, the Robinson character is just there OK. Who cares?" which isn't a very impressive response.

  • Washington | April 30, 2013 11:25 PM

    No I get it, you empathize with Mostly Offscreen For Entire Movie Guy Memo Is Being Sent To. Only he is your rock of sanity in this completely incomprehensible world of crazy characters. How would we even connect in any way with the material of the film without him.

  • Alan B | April 30, 2013 6:52 AM

    Yeah, I guess the Edward G Robinson character wasn't important at all ... WHICH IS WHY THE WHOLE BLOODY FILM IS NARRATED AS A MEMO TO HIS CHARACTER. The character is THEMATICALLY IMPORTANT, as is the sister. She doesn't have the FINAL SCENE in 'Success' for NO REASON. I don't need to love every character or anything blah, blah, blah. Some more extreme arthouse films challenge the very nature of narrative like Godard's later work. So I don't actually "need" to relate to every single film on an emotional level. I never actually said that. I just said that most stories feature a POV CHARACTER. Which is true. And - when a film lacks a point of view character - it is less engaging. I am talking NARRATIVE, and I don't care if you think that's "weird".

  • Washington | April 30, 2013 6:17 AM

    Edward G. Robinson and the sister character are barely even in those films. The sister basically exists just to show how depraved and far gone the other two guys are. She's not really even in the film in any substantial form for the viewer to know or bond with. I find you're need to relate or personally empathize with or latch onto to some character in every fictional story really weird. I don't empathize with with Edward G. Robison's character, or characters like his. I just think about how they're going to screw everything up for the main character. It's not a moral dilemma for me to root for the bad guy. It's a movie and I don't confuse fantasy with reality.

  • Alan B | April 30, 2013 4:17 AM

    Oh, for the love of ... the Edward G. Robinson role is the POV character in the former. His role is to question the hero's actions and to provide the filmmakers' perspective on the action. The columnist's sister in the later. She's the victim of the columnist's narcissism and control, and her speech at the end is meant to suggest the filmmakers' POV on Hunsecker's manipulative attitude towards others. This isn't something that I've weaved out of thin air: POV characters have been around forever. That's why Shakespeare included Banquo in Macbeth, Horatio in Hamlet etc. Again, I haven't seen 'Only God Forgives'. From the promos, it doesn't seem as if there is a POV character. If true, this doesn't necessarily make the film BAD, just less ACCESSIBLE.

  • Washington | April 30, 2013 1:38 AM

    Who do you find appealing in The Sweet Smell of Success or Double Indemnity?

  • Alan B | April 29, 2013 11:19 AM

    Oh you mean like 'The Maltese Falcon', where the protagonist sacrifices possible happiness in order to do the right thing? Or 'Chinatown' where the protagonist is trying to decipher the truth and protect the innocent? Or 'The Long Goodbye' where the character represents tradition in the face of sleazy contemporary culture? Or ... yes, even in noirs, the filmmakers actually do try to engender identification for the audience.

  • Washington | April 29, 2013 10:46 AM

    Have you ever watched a noir? It's terrible people making terrible decisions, that's the whole appeal.

  • Alan B | April 29, 2013 4:41 AM

    Clearly, I haven't seen 'Only God Forgives', but a lot of the films/television shows referenced seem to operate differently from this film. Those works feature characters that are difficult and challenging, but the storytellers give their characters trait that make them identifiable and acceptible as protagonists. Take 'Mad Men', for example. In the first episode, Pete is established as such a sexist douchebag that Don lectures him about his behaviour and attitudes in the office. Although Don is depicted as a womaniser, he displays that he has certain values (e.g. chivalry) in this sequence, which make him more identifiable as a protagonist. Note that Weiner didn't include Don murdering a prostitute in this scene or something: he established that Don - although flawed - has likeable attributes too and that comes across in this lecture. In this sequence, Don serves as the POV character, exhibiting the beliefs of a contemporary audience (the rejection of Pete's arrogance and unbridled sexism) even if he isn't ENTIRELY progressive in his social attitudes. Note also that Pete actually became a more empathetic character as his social progressive attitudes towards the disenfranchised became a focal point in SOME episodes. Whilst a viewer doesn't need to approve of EVERYTHING a character does, he or she still needs to gather some value in their attitude, behaviour or thinking in order to identify with them. 'Bronson' is also identiable because he is an outsider - whilst his actions may be brutal and dangerous, we can at least appreciate his desire to thrive in his ordinary life. In 'Drive', we can identify with the Driver's motive AND Irene as the POV character who witnesses the violence and is shocked by it. We need to see something in the character that appeals to a primal desire within ourselves. I don't know whether this film will be successful or not, but the story seems less accessible than, say, 'Drive'. As for 'Bleeder', I am stunned anyone can identify with ANYTHING in that film.

  • Anonymouse | April 28, 2013 1:00 PM

    i suggest watching Bronson, the Pusher Trilogy, and Bleeder. Refn is great handling less than sympathetic protagonists. it's one of the reasons i absolutely love the stories he chooses to tell.

  • bohmer | April 28, 2013 12:04 PM

    I fully support whatever Adam ST is saying here. I don't think Refn intend to create a special bond of approval around any of his characters. I do not watch Mad Men because I approve of men treating women like shit.

  • Adam Scott Thompson | April 28, 2013 11:49 AM

    I can, actually. Blood is blood. Most of us will never be confronted with that exact scenario, but we may have to fight for -- or get justice on behalf of -- a loved one who wasn't one of God's favorites. I think that's one of the major themes of films such as this and "The Godfather" -- blood's duty to blood, and the consequences of that.

  • Alan B | April 28, 2013 9:49 AM

    You can identify with avenging an idiot brother who killed a prostitute? Seriously? That concept is relatable to you?

  • Adam Scott Thompson | April 28, 2013 9:37 AM

    Michael Corleone was a lot of those things. I wouldn't want to be him (mostly), but I can identify with his motivations. If Refn and Gosling can do the same, who gives a shit what the character did? I don't go to movies to approve of people; I go to understand them -- and myself in the process.

  • Washington | April 28, 2013 7:00 AM

    Finally, a movie made for me.

  • DG | April 28, 2013 12:04 AMReply

    First two clips were amazing

  • tristan eldritch | April 27, 2013 11:35 PMReply

    Looks amazing. First clip reminds me of Enter the Void. Second clip has a real Lynchian sound design. Looks like some weird Freudian psychodrama/psychedelic pulp odyssey - can't wait.

  • tristan eldritch | April 28, 2013 1:42 PM

    YER - Apologies for "dropping" the name of a well-known film and extremely well-known director - on a fucking film blog.

  • yer | April 28, 2013 12:31 AM

    Your comment could use a couple more name drops.

  • yer | April 28, 2013 12:30 AM

    Your comment could use a couple more name drops.

  • yer | April 28, 2013 12:29 AM

    Your comment could use a couple more name drops.

  • Washington | April 27, 2013 11:18 PMReply

    Two movies and it's starting to get old?

  • oogle monster | April 27, 2013 10:59 PMReply

    My only worry here is that Gosling is retreating back into the no dialogue zone. It worked in Drive, but it's starting to get old. The kid can act- let him speak!

  • Adam Scott Thompson | April 28, 2013 9:29 AM

    You do understand that film is a primarily visual medium, yes? Show > Tell. The better you can execute the former, the less you have to rely on the latter. Dialogue should exist only where visuals alone cannot convey story, character and/or theme.

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