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.
Bangkok. Ten years ago Julian (Ryan Gosling) 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 (Vithaya Pansringarm) - 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 (Dame 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".
In his commentary, writer and director 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 Disneyland. By night, however, things are far more sinister. See more »
A thin border can be seen around the Post Production credits, indicating that the black background may not have been perfectly scaled to fit. See more »
I do understand why people hate it, that also means that I understand why people love it because I am one of them.
This movie was shot by cinematographer Larry Smith who also worked with Kubrick on 'Eyes wide shut', he made an extraordinary job shooting this picture because it was mesmerizing and beautiful to watch from the beginning to the end. It was also an amazing movie experience, it's one of those movies that you just give yourself over to. If you are a fan of movies and a fan of Nicolas Winding Refn then I think you will absolutely love this.
I read that a lot of people are complaining about this movie being thin on story and whatnot, well, let me put it like this; if Refn wanted a "story" he would give it a "story". He doesn't have anything to prove on that point because he already showed us that he can do it if he wants to, and I think once you let go of that then it will be a lot more easier to enjoy and experience this movie because it is a movie that is based on ideas which is clearly what Nicolas Winding Refn is focusing on rather than having a moving plot or story.
The atmosphere in this movie was really something, it was almost as if you were a part of it thanks to this movie being very slow paced, and that's why I've always been a big fan of slow-paced movies. "Chang", who is "God", was so coldblooded that even I as a viewer felt that it will be impossible for "Julian" to actually try to kill him - and then that last fighting sequence came. All the actors did a very good job and gave convincing performances, meaning that they didn't have to do more than what was already in the film. And I loved the fact that our protagonist got beaten down to a point where we couldn't see his normal face, and I liked the relationship that Julian (Ryan Gosling) and Crystal had (Kristen Thomas) because I could feel that strange mother-to-son love type of relationship even though it was very tense, that probably has to do with good chemistry between the two actors. This movie also had very good soundtracks which added another great layer to it. I guess if David Lynch were to make an extremely violent movie, I think it would look something like this, there were indeed some Lynch-moments in there and some Kubrick shots which I absolutely loved. As much as this movie made me cringe I could not stop enjoying it, it was all in a positive way. I think Refn at one point called this a Thai-western about a man who is fighting against god, and I couldn't stop thinking about that whilst I was watching it because that's exactly what it is.
People can trash this movie all they want, we even had two people walking out of the theater. But the fact that some critics gave it a 100/100 and others gave it below 50/100 should tell you a lot. But at the end of the day, I think if you really want to know what you think of this film, you will have to go and see it for yourself.
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