Solid acting and adept filmmaking help make up for the fact that this film asks us to spend a couple of hours in the presence of a group of truly despicable characters. They're played by some of the brightest (and most beautiful) rising stars in the movies at the moment, but each one of these young men is vile to the core. So the fact that these are supposed to be Britain's brightest and best hope for the future makes the film pretty terrifying.
It's set at Oxford University, where the elite Riot Club (including Douglas Booth, Sam Reid, Freddie Fox, Matthew Beard, Ben Schnetzer and Olly Alexander) are on the lookout for wealthy white students to complete their 10-man membership. They find suitable candidates in new arrivals: the sneering Alistair (Sam Claflin) and conflicted Miles (Max Irons), whose one drawback is that he's seeing a common girl (Holliday Grainger). After the rigorous initiation process, Alistair and Miles are welcomed to the hedonistic gang at a lavish dinner in the private room of a country pub. But things turn nasty as they drunkenly hurl abuse at the pub manager (Gordon Brown), his daughter (Jessica Brown Findlay) and a high-class hooker (Natalie Dormer) they hire for the night.
Based on the play Posh by screenwriter Laura Wade, the film is centred around this increasingly chaotic dinner party. Although nothing that happens is particularly surprising, because these young men are such relentlessly bigoted, misogynist snobs that it's impossible to believe they belong anywhere other than prison. They certainly don't deserve their self-appointed status as the top students at Oxford, who are getting debauchery out of their systems before taking the lead in British politics and business. But then, that's precisely Wade's point, and she makes it loudly. Thankfully, director Lone Scherfig balances things by offering glimpses into these young men's dark souls while skilfully capturing the old-world subculture and a strong sense of irony.
Continue reading: The Riot Club Review
Eilidh Brown and Gordon Brown - Eilidh Brown, Gordon Brown (collect pic) Actor Billy Boyd had an audience in stitches when he persuaded a pal to bounce on to a stage on a yellow space hopper wearing nothing but pants and socks. Lord of the Rings star Boyd talked fellow Scots actor Billy Mack in to the stunt as a spoof of Miley Cyrus' video for Wrecking Ball, in which she straddles a concrete ball. Boyd, who played hobbit Pippin in LOTR, sang the song with his band Beecake as part of a fundraising concert that raised more than £50,000 for the Eilidh Brown Trust at Stirling's Macrobert theatre on Friday night. The gig, which also featured The Fratellis, was organised by Only God Forgives actor Gordon Brown to raise money to build a respite home for cancer children in memory of his 15-year-old daughter who died in 2010. The sellout 700-strong audience were left howling with laughter when Boyd called former RSAMD classmate Mack from his seat and whispered instructions to him. And when he sang 'I came in like a wrecking ball', Mack appeared from the side of the stage on the yellow space hopper, in just his black boxers and socks. He bounced from one side of the stage to the other before returning to centre stage. But he gave Boyd a fright when he bounced up behind him and bit his bum. Boyd, who has remained pals with Mack and Gordon Brown since their drama school days said: "We decided to play a cover of Miley Cyrus' Wrecking Ball and thought it would be funny to get someone come on. We didn't have a wrecking ball so we got a space hopper. "We picked on Billy Mack to do it. He didn't know a thing about it until he was pulled on stage but he was a good sport. "What's better than Billy Mack bouncing half naked on a space hopper. "It was great fun, and if it helps raise some money for Eilidh's trust that's what it's all about. "Playing music is something we can do to help, but if Gordon asked me to bounce across a stage on a space hopper in my pants I'd gladly do that too." Mack, who appeared in the R - Stirling, Scotland, United Kingdom - Wednesday 17th July 2013
Audiences expecting Drive 2 from this reteaming of Gosling and Winding Refn will be disappointed: this is a stylishly original movie that refuses to play by the rules. It's a very dark revenge thriller that unfolds like a surreal, blood-soaked dream as it spirals toward an ending that can't possibly be happy. And even though it's difficult to identify with anyone on-screen, the film is emotionally riveting.
Winding Refn sets the story in Bangkok, with Gosling starring as Julian, a passive guy who's working for his older drug-dealing brother Billy (Burke). But when Billy kills a teen prostitute in a drugged stupor, a nasty cycle of revenge begins. Detective Chang (Pansringarm) allows the victim's father (Wattanakul) to avenge her death, which comes at a price. So as Julian seeks his own vengeance, he understands that Chang is the real villain here. Then Julian's mother Crystal (Scott Thomas) turns up, refusing to listen to reason as she storms into the situation and makes everything much, much worse.
Using an Eastern sense of karma, Winding Refn throws Julian, Crystal and Chang into a torturous deathmatch. Events unfold with very little dialog, which emphasises the lurid colours and densely shadowed settings. Expertly shot and edited, the film is awash in ambiguity, making it feel like a David Lynch movie in which much of what we're watching is an absurd nightmare. And even as the morality gets increasingly murky, the film never preaches to us. It's challenging, provocative and extremely unsettling.
Continue reading: Only God Forgives Review
Gosling has played this character before, but are we bored?
When Only God Forgives – one of Ryan Gosling’s moody thrillers – debuted at Cannes Film Festival, opinion was polarized. Some critics were sucked in by Nicolas Winding Refn slick style while others labelled his efforts as dull. If Gosling is more popular anywhere but America, though, it’s in England, and it’s in England that the film next lands.
Only God Forgives, coming to a cinema near you, August 2nd
We expect audiences to arrive at box offices in their droves to catch the latest glimpse of the pin up hero, who’s forging somewhat of a reputation for grumpy violence these days.
Julian is living in Bangkok while running an organised drugs ring under the guise of a Thai boxing club after going on the run for murder ten years ago. When he discovers that his mentally challenged brother Billy has been brutally killed, he and his foul-mouthed, tough-talking criminal mother Crystal swear vengeance. But when he discovers that Billy had raped and killed a sixteen year old girl and been murdered by her father with the approval of ruthless former cop Chang (aka the Angel of Vengeance), things seem a little more complicated. However, under increasing pressure from his mother, Julian sets out to settle the score with the Angel, but after losing during a one on one fight, he must find another way to avenge his brother.
Continue: Only God Forgives - Clips
Julian has been wanted for murder for 10 years and is on the run living in Bangkok. He owns a Thai boxing club behind which he runs deeply organised drugs ring. He may be loaded, handsome, fearless and be able to get whatever he wants, but the one thing he does want he just can't seem to make happen: revenge. After his disturbed brother brutally kills a young prostitute, ruthless former cop Chang (aka the Angel of Vengeance) lets her father execute her killer before mercilessly cutting off his hands to restore order. Consumed by grief and yearning for reprisal, Julian - encouraged by his criminal mother Jenna - sets out to destroy the Angel of Vengeance, but after losing in a one-to-one fight, he realises he must find another way to avenge his brother's death.
Continue: Only God Forgives Trailer