|From L to R: Kristen Scott Thomas, Ryan Gosling and Vithaya Pansringarm in "Only God Forgives"|
Actor Ryan Gosling recently announced his plans to take a break from acting (I can only assume that his fan base is handling it very well.) And though, I have only seen a few of his films, and haven't had the opportunity to see any of writer/director Nicolas Winding Refn's films yet, Refn's latest film, Only God Forgives has drawn my attention. The film also stars actress Kristen Scott Thomas and actor Vithaya Pansringarm, who is also set to star in Isaac Florentine's next film, Ninja 2.
Ten years ago in Bangkok Julian killed a cop 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 kills a prostitute, the police reaches out to retired cop Chang, known as the Angel of Vengeance. Chang allows the father to kill his daughters murderer, then restores order by chopping off the man's right hand.
Julian's mother Jenna, the head of a powerful criminal organization, arrives in Bangkok to collect her son's body. She orders Julian to find his killers and raise hell.
Increasingly obsessed with the Angel of Vengeance, Julian challenges him to a boxing match, hoping that by defeating him he might find spiritual release but Chang triumphs. A furious Jenna plots revenge and the stage is set for a bloody journey through betrayal and vengeance towards a final confrontation and the possibility of redemption.
Of course, what draws me is the fact that Ryan Gosling and the director trained several hours a day to prepare for the action, which tells me that the star will eventually showcase some brutal Muay Thai action in the film with at least one or more of the cast members. However, based on what I saw in the teaser footage shown at Cannes last year, I suspect it to have a more heavy-handed dramatic tone rather than Ong Bak-ish action scenes with big stunts. Sometimes less is more, and the synopsis itself sounds like a format for a great crime thriller with some good old-fashioned fist-to-face combat to heighten the drama. And if it all means a good film is on the way, then bring it.
Enjoy your break Ryan, and thanks for leaving a little something for fight fans on the way out.
Meantime, you can check out the international 20-second teaser below, or click HERE if the embed below fails to load.
ONLY GOD FORGIVES will be distributed through Radius-TWC for the U.S., while Lionsgate UK will handle U.K. distribution. Several previous reports have speculated either a March or an April release for the U.S., although neither of those have been confirmed. However, AMC and The Daily Beast have confirmed the film's Cannes premiere in France this May. And remember to follow Nicolas Winding Refn on Twitter to catch more HQ photos from the film.
Stay tuned for details.