Given that I loved Nicolas Winding Refn’s last movie ‘Drive’, I was really looking forward to this film. Ryan Gosling once again plays a dark brooding character at war with himself. His portrayal of Julian is difficult to enjoy, he hardly says a word through the entire film. In fact, I would suggest that his script was shorter than Arnie’s for Conan. Julian is a truly troubled man who seems resigned to paying for previous crimes. Set in Bangkok’s criminal underworld, Julian runs a fight club with his elder brother as a front for a drug business. The film really kicks off once his brother (Tom Burke) goes too far with a local prostitute. Then the arrival of Julian’s oddly incestuous mother, played brilliantly by Kristen Scott Thomas really sets the cat among the pigeons.
It’s hard to decide who the bad guys are in this movie, although Vithaya Pansringarm does a fantastic job of portraying the emotionless local police inspector. His complex character is examined with several scenes singing karaoke; almost showing a human side to his nature, counter posed against several dispassionate yet violent attacks.
The cinematography is amazing throughout, combined with strong music and incredible lighting create a real sense of dread. The sets are fantastic, building a sense of foreboding for the entire film.