Is Ryan Gosling's 'Only God Forgives' Too Violent For His Fanbase?
Does Ryan Gosling risk alienating his established fanbase with 'Only God Forgives'?
There were audible boos in the auditorium when Ryan Gosling and Nicolas Winding Refn's latest effort Only God Forgives premiered at the Cannes Film Festival back in May. Several of the theatregoers walked out, owing to the explicit violence in the film that tells the story of a Thai boxing club owner who goes on the hunt for his brother's killers.
The ever-capable Gosling - who showed flashes of sheer brilliance in 'Place Beyond the Pines - and Kristin Scott Thomas, one of the world's greatest actresses, appears to be a match made in heaven, though critics are not enamoured by the movie. The problem may lie with Refn's writing.
Peter Debruge of Variety said: "The wallpaper emotes more than Ryan Gosling does in Only God Forgives, an exercise in supreme style and minimal substance from Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn."
Owen Gleibermann of Entertainment Weekly wrote: "It's a solemnly preposterous piece of designer revenge pulp, with actors who stand around bathed in red and blue light like David Lynch mannequins in between scenes of torture and murder."
It was more of the same from Keith Uhlich of Time Out New York, "Refn clearly thinks he's saying something profound with this laboriously overproduced dross, and I'm content to let him go on thinking," he said.
Of course, The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw loved it, "Only God Forgives will, understandably, have people running for the exits, and running for the hills. It is very violent, but Winding Refn's bizarre infernal creation, an entire created world of fear, really is gripping," he wrote after seeing the movie at Cannes.
Refn "proudly" calls Only God Forgives his Metal Machine Music - the 1975 album by Lou Reed that seemingly eschewed structure, melody and rhythm in favor of feedback and guitar effects.
Gosling - who excelled in Drive, Place Beyond the Pines and Blue Valentine - appears to have found his collaborative pal in Refn, though it could be dangerous to align himself with the controversial filmmaker in the long-run. Violent movies are fine, if they're great movies. Violent movies with little else are the worst of the worst.
Ryan Gosling At A Screening of 'Only God Forgives' in New York
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