Nicolas Winding Refn

Nicolas Winding Refn

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Jodorowsky's Dune - Clip

Alejandro Jodorowsky is a cult filmmaker whose ambitious plans to adapt Frank Herbert's 1965 novel 'Dune' to screen became one of the most colossal failures in movie history. He had lined up the likes of influential artist Salvador Dali, Oscar winning Orson Welles and The Rolling Stones' Mick Jagger as cast members with artwork by 'Alien' designer HR Giger and Jean Giraud who worked on 'The Fifth Element' - Pink Floyd and Magma were even among the music artists tipped for the film score. However, as pre-production kicked off, it wasn't long before the $9.5 million budget had been quickly frittered away leaving producers penniless and the film was finally shelved permanently. The story of the failure of the original 'Dune' is a tragic one - and one can only imagine the effect it would've had on modern sci-fi cinema.

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Only God Forgives Review

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.

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Ryan Gosling Admits Blood-Drenched 'Only God Forgives' Will Alienate

Ryan Gosling Nicolas Winding Refn

Ryan Gosling has defended his latest movie Only God Forgives for what seems like the ten billionth time, though admits the shocking violence and unconventional narrative structure will alienate audiences.

Ryan GoslingRyan Gosling in 'Only God Forgives;

Collaborating with Danish filmmaker Nicolas Winding-Refn for the second time, the Hollywood poster-boy plays a violent drug dealer on the hunt for his brother's killer in Bangkok.

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Only God Forgives - Clips

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.

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The Final Word on 'Only God Forgives? Refn's Worst. Probably Gosling's.

Ryan Gosling Nicolas Winding Refn Kristin Scott Thomas

Nicolas Winding Refn appears to have hit a bum-note with his latest movie, the violent drama Only God Forgives, starring Hollywood pin-up Ryan Gosling.

Refn had hinted at some degree of skill and precision with Bronson and to a lesser extent Drive, though Only God Forgives appears to be a backwards step for the enigmatic filmmaker and certainly a career blot for Gosling.

On the face of it, the narrative looks solid. Gosling plays Julian, a drug-king pin of the Bangkok underworld who doubles as the owner of a Thai boxing club. When his brother Billy is suddenly murdered, his unstable mother Crystal (Kristin Scott Thomas) arrives from London to bring back the body, however, she also wants Julian to settle scores and avenge the killing of his brother.

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Is Ryan Gosling's 'Only God Forgives' Too Violent For His Fanbase?

Ryan Gosling Nicolas Winding Refn Kristin Scott Thomas

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."

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Only God Forgives Trailer

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.

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Gosling Film Booed At Cannes, But Is 'Only God Forgives' That Bad?

Ryan Gosling Nicolas Winding Refn

A Gosling film booed at Cannes? Surely not! Well, it looks as though Nicolas Winding Refn's new movie Only God Forgives - about a boxing club owner who is pressured by his mother to avenge the death of his brother's murder - wasn't exactly the audience pleaser that several critics made it out to be. According to AFP, "Boos rang out at the Cannes Film Festival on Wednesday," with many in the auditorium wincing or unable to watch.

Fortunately for Gosling, he was nowhere near the screening after sending his apologizes for giving Cannes a miss this year. He is currently in Detroit shooting his directorial debut How To Catch A Monster, "Can't believe I'm not In Cannes," Gosling said in a letter read out by Cannes director Thierry Femaux, "I was hoping to come but I'm on week three shooting my film in Detroit. Miss you all. Nicolas, my friend, we really are the same persons in different dimensions. I'm sending you good vibrations."

His absence is a clear blow to the festival, though Gosling wouldn't have enjoyed the reaction that Only God Forgives incited inside the auditorium in France. The violence is said to reach bizarre extremes and although several critics gave it five-star reviews, most conceded that cinema walkouts are inevitable when the film gets a full release. The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw wrote, "It may not win the Palme D'Or, but it could win the Walkout D'Or, a gold trophy of a cinema-seat banged up into the upright position. Nicolas Winding Refn's Only God Forgives is a glitteringly strange, mesmeric and mad film set among American criminal expatriates in Bangkok." Jordan Hoffman at quipped, "There's an old expression in musical theater - you don't leave humming the lights."

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Cannes Wasn't Forgiving To "Only God Forgives"

Ryan Gosling Nicolas Winding Refn Kristin Scott Thomas

There is an understanding in Hollywood that if they don’t like your film at Cannes, you’ll know, which is exactly what happened yesterday with Nicolas Winding Refn’s latest flick Only God Forgives. The film stars Ryan Gosling with Refn in the director’s seat – a promising combination, considering that their last team project (Drive) nabbed the Best Director award at the festival. Only God Forgives, however, probably isn’t going to reach the same acclaim, at least not if the audience of journalists, movie critics and assorted insiders is any indication.

Ryan Gosling, Place Beyond the Pines Premiere
Once again, Gosling has been type-cast as the strong, silent character.

According to Vulture’s Kyle Buchanan, the movie has ample amounts of blood and guts, properly amplified by the eye-popping red lighting that’s meant to signify Bangkok’s seediest neighbourhoods. What it doesn’t have though is the subtlety and tender moments, necessary to balance out the gore. Gosling’s performance is once ago according to type – the strong silent type, who is bullied by his terrible mother into avenging the death of his even more terrible brother.

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The Cannes Premiere Of 'Only God Forgives' Goes By Without Ryan Gosling, But With Lots Of Buzz

Ryan Gosling Nicolas Winding Refn

Nicolas Refn’s Only God Forgives premiered at Cannes this week, unfortunately, without its star Ryan Gosling in attendance. Gosling was away on his own directorial duties for his debut, How to Catch a Monster, but he did send an extremely polite note to apologize for his absence.

“I can’t believe that I’m not in Cannes with you,” Gosling wrote, quoted by Time Magazine. “I was hoping to be coming but I am in the third week of shooting my movie. I miss you all. Nicolas, my friend, we really are the same, simply in different worlds and I am sending you good vibrations. I am with you all.”

Yes, of course we forgive you, Ryan. Also, you can have as much time as you like and we’re sure the film is going to be a majestic work of art (a bit too much). Unfortunately, the discerning Cannes audience and the critics thus far haven’t been as forgiving of Only God Forbids, which has taken something of a blasting for its garish colour palette and overly dramatic attempts at being a violent, arty revenge flick.

Continue reading: The Cannes Premiere Of 'Only God Forgives' Goes By Without Ryan Gosling, But With Lots Of Buzz