Only God Forgives

Rated 4.0

In Nicolas Winding Refn's Drive follow-up, Ryan Gosling strips the craft of acting down to the bare essentials of sitting down, standing, walking slowly, staring at a vacant middle distance, and not reacting to things. Refn's script is even more minimal, with its kinky revenge hook disguising a bizarre and often mesmerizing exercise in nightmare atmosphere, mythological doom, and delayed bloodlust. Gosling plays Julian, a Bangkok-based gangster with a bad temper and some seriously oedipal sex issues. A dirty cop murders Julian's pedophile brother, and soon enough, their mother and boss (Kristin Scott Thomas) arrives looking for revenge. The neon-drenched style and impeccably composed ultraviolence are even more pointless here than in Drive, but Only God Forgives is the more hypnotic and challenging film.