We’re really excited for Nicolas Winding Refn’s next directorial project, the visceral fight film Only God Forgives. It’s an interesting, but such a strange choice after his hit Drive violently endeared its James Dean-esque coolness in the hearts of audiences around the world.
Here are twenty new images, mainly featuring each cast member, including Ryan Gosling, Kristin Scott Thomas, Vithaya Pansringarm, Tom Burke and Yayaying.
Thanks to our source, here’s a full statement from Refn, speaking on the development of the film:
The original concept for the film was to make a movie about a man who wants to fight God. That is, of course, a very vast obstacle but when I was writing the film, I was going through some very existential times in my life – we were expecting our second child and it was a difficult pregnancy – and the idea of having a character who wants to fight God without knowing why very much appealed to me.
With that as the concept, I elaborated by adding a character who believes he is God (Chang), obviously the antagonist, with the protagonist being a gangster who is looking for religion to believe in (Julian). This itself is, of course, very existential because faith is based on the need for a higher answer but most of the time, we don’t know what the question is. When the answer comes, then, we must backtrack our lives in order to find the question. In this way, the film is conceived as an answer, with the question revealed at the end.
With hindsight, I am able to see the similarities between Chang and One Eye in Valhalla Rising, and Driver in Drive – all are rooted in fairytale mythology and have difficulties living in the everyday world. I can see that technically, there is a resemblance in their stoic behavior, silence, and fetishistic portraits even though they live in different times and are portrayed by different actors. In Valhalla Rising, One Eye is enigmatic – we don’t know his past but he is defined by his name. In Drive, Driver is defined by his function. And in Only God Forgives, Chang is first of all defined by his enigmatic behaviour, to such an extent that he becomes a disembodied character, an ‘it’, defined not by his name but solely by his image.
In a way, Only God Forgives is like an accumulation of all the films I’ve made so far. I think I was heading toward a creative collision, full speed ahead, in order to change everything around me and to see what would come after. I have always said that I set out to make films about women but I end up making films about violent men. Now that everything is colliding, it may end up turning things upside-down for me. This collision is exciting because everything around me becomes so uncertain and we must not forget that the second enemy of creativity, after having ‘good taste’, is being safe.
Bangkok. Julian (Ryan Gosling) runs a Thai boxing club as a front for a drugs operation. He has everything he wants for and is respected in the criminal underworld though, deep inside, he feels empty.
When Julian’s brother murders a prostitute the police call on retired cop Chang – the Angel of Vengeance (Vithaya Pansringarm). Chang allows the father to kill his daughter’s murderer, then ‘restores order’ by chopping off the man’s right hand. Julian’s mother Jenna (Kristin Scott Thomas) – the head of a powerful criminal organization – arrives in Bangkok to collect her son’s body. She dispatches Julian to find his killers and ‘raise hell’.
Increasingly obsessed with the Angel of Vengeance, Julian challenges him to a boxing match, hoping that by defeating him he might find spiritual release… but Chang triumphs. A furious Jenna plots revenge and the stage is set for a bloody journey through betrayal and vengeance towards a final confrontation and the possibility of redemption.
Source: Flicks and Bits