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
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
Gordon Brown Thursday 2nd April 2009 at the press conference for the G20 Summit at Excel Centre London, England
Solid acting and adept filmmaking help make up for the fact that this film asks...
Audiences expecting Drive 2 from this reteaming of Gosling and Winding Refn will be disappointed:...
Julian is living in Bangkok while running an organised drugs ring under the guise of...