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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Nicolas Winding Refn
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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
In his commentary, Nicolas Winding Refn states that Bangkok is a radically different city depending on the time of day. If it is daytime, it is, in his words, like Disney Land. By night, however, things are far more sinister. 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 »
An atmospheric tale of revenge, and not the sequel for Drive
Critics have gone way too hard on this movie. Lots of violent, strange et slow films have been presented at the Cannes film festival since its creation but yet every time a film pushes the boundaries of violence while keeping its own style, most critics go mad and sometimes shout at the screening, even leaving the theater before the end and calling it "outrageous". This film, along with "Anti-Christ" is a perfect example of the type of scandals that go on at Cannes for quite stupid reasons.
First of all, forget about Drive. If you know Nicolas Winding Refn's style and like it then you'll enjoy this movie but if you've only seen Drive and believe this is going to be in the same style (because of the same actor, similar cinematography, same musical style...) believe me you'll be disappointed. The trailer might give this impression, but this film is very different. The director had already made other movies just like this, but they did not encounter a really large audience. His works were mostly known by cinephiles, artsy people and intellectuals interested in film analysis (in a general way of course). Drive was his first really big success and also his first film taking place in America, starring a worldwide known star (Gosling) and going deep into its message while keeping a more specific style than his other films.
Here Refn feels a lot more philosophical, and comes back to his original style in directing films such as Valhalla Rising : great visuals, slow-pasted action, scenes that seem a bit detached from one-another, deep character development, little dialogue, extreme violence mixed with soft and/or trance-electro music... all of which are here to deal with philosophical, deep, hard subjects like revenge, good and bad, mother/son relationship etc...
When it comes to the acting Gosling does not disappoints however this time Refn wanted to do the opposite that he did in Drive : showing the weakness of his character. Also, even though he does pull-off a very convincing performance, Kristin Scott Thomas is surprisingly captivating and gives her character a much more "real" dimension than it could have been (like it is most of the time, when a woman is supposed to play a drug-lord badass). But saving the best for the end, Vithaya Pansringarm, an actor totally unknown to me until know, plays wonderfully his role as the mystical bad guy, and really did surprise me by the quality of his acting. He completely understood the movie's atmosphere and makes his character feel mysterious and fascinating.
To sum-up this is a very atmospheric, deep movie with great actors/actresses and dealing with difficult and serious themes, with some philosophical analysis possible, but definitely not in the same style as Drive, even though it has some similarities with it.
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