Julian, a drug-smuggler thriving in Bangkok's criminal underworld, sees his life get even more complicated when his mother compels him to find and kill whoever is responsible for his brother's recent death.
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Bangkok. Ten years ago Julian killed a man and went on the run. Now he manages a Thai boxing club as a front for a drugs operation. Respected in the criminal underworld, deep inside, he feels empty. When Julian's brother murders an underage prostitute, the police call on retired cop Chang - the Angel of Vengeance. Chang allows the father to kill his daughter's murderer, then 'restores order' by chopping off the man's right hand. Julian's mother Crystal - 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'. Written by
Production hit a snag when it became necessary to pay off the local authorities in order to get permission and protection to film at night, including firing gunshots, for certain scenes. Refn and star Ryan Gosling were invited to a film festival in Thailand. After some negotiating and taxes, they received 90,000 USD in cash for showing up. Refn recounts in his commentary how, having never seen that amount in cash in his entire life, he enjoyed counting it out himself. It was enough to bribe the necessary authorities, and production continued. See more »
When Julian fought Chang, Chang kicked Julian in the left leg several times leaving Julian unable to walk normally, but later on Julian is seen stumbling on his right leg rather than the left. See more »
Danish auteur Nicolas Winding Refn's first Hollywood picture Drive is one of the best films of the millennium, hands down. His Thailand-set revenge saga feels like a natural extension of that masterpiece, albeit a very boring and pretentious one. Where Drive was slow-burning and enrapturing, OGF is slow and uninteresting; where Ryan Gosling's Driver was charismatic and compelling, his drug-dealing enigma here is dull and vacuous; Drive's violence was impactful and meaningful, the brutality in this is nasty and pointless. There are, however, two shining lights that save this from being completely unwatchable. The neon-lit cinematography is simply stunning and quite often disguises the senselessness of what is actually going on, whilst the ballsy performance from Kristen Scott Thomas as Gosling's reprehensible white-trash mother is a terrific display of her versatility and deserving of a much better movie. A missed opportunity that suggests Refn is a hit and miss prospect.
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