We have yet to grow tired of the crime genre. “Only God Forgives,” the upcoming Nicolas Winding Refn crime thriller starring Ryan Gosling (“The Place Beyond the Pines”), reminds us why. Crime — its glory, its tragedy, the allure of violence — provides an inexhaustible supply of inspiration for storytellers of all mediums. But not many people can make it look as good, as Refn.
“Only God Forgives”
Guided by Refn’s visual flair, “Only God Forgives” looks to thrive on the atmospheric tension and visual flair of the Danish director’s 2011 crime masterpiece, “Drive.” The trailer opens with a haunting monologue by Jenna (Kristin Scott Thomas, “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen”) compelling, or guilt-tripping, her son, Julien (Gosling) into avenging the death of his brother.
Needless to say, he raises his hell.
Cut to this shot: a neon-lit hallway, Julien kicking a man to the ground, then dragging him by the mouth to a place I bet isn’t good. Let me put it this way: We got jarring, jaw-aching violence, deliberate pacing, tortured and muted emotions, Gosling sporting a hell of a face wound, we got Refn and it all looks entrancing.
This is neon-noir at its finest. Call it the second entry of what — box-office gods willing — will be a significant trilogy in the crime canon. “Only God Forgives” looks violent, violently gorgeous and best of all, inspired.