Over at The Playlist they have been posting more and more pictures from Nicolas Winding Refn‘s Only God Forgives than I could keep up with. So I figured I’d let them get it out of their system and bring the pictures to you when it looked like they may finally be done.
While I have to assume a few more will be coming down the line I think it’s safe to say 34 pictures, two posters and the details they scored regarding Cliff Martinez‘s score is enough to go with for now so let’s have a look.
First off, looking through the production notes they keyed in on Refn’s director’s statement, the first sentence of which should have those anticipating this film even more excited for what it may have in store:
The original concept for the film was to make a movie about a man who wants to fight God. That is, of course, a very vast obstacle but when I was writing the film, I was going through some very existential times in my life – we were expecting our second child and it was a difficult pregnancy – and the idea of having a character who wants to fight God without knowing why very much appealed to me.
With that as the concept, I elaborated by adding a character who believes he is God (Chang), obviously the antagonist, with the protagonist being a gangster who is looking for religion to believe in (Julian). This itself is, of course, very existential because faith is based on the need for a higher answer but most of the time, we don’t know what the question is. When the answer comes, then, we must backtrack our lives in order to find the question. In this way, the film is conceived as an answer, with the question revealed at the end.
With hindsight, I am able to see the similarities between Chang and One Eye in Valhalla Rising, and Driver in Drive – all are rooted in fairytale mythology and have difficulties living in the everyday world. I can see that technically, there is a resemblance in their stoic behavior, silence, and fetishistic portraits even though they live in different times and are portrayed by different actors. In Valhalla Rising, One Eye is enigmatic – we don’t know his past but he is defined by his name. In Drive, Driver is defined by his function. And in Only God Forgives, Chang is first of all defined by his enigmatic behaviour, to such an extent that he becomes a disembodied character, an ‘it’, defined not by his name but solely by his image.
In a way, Only God Forgives is like an accumulation of all the films I’ve made so far. I think I was heading toward a creative collision, full speed ahead, in order to change everything around me and to see what would come after. I have always said that I set out to make films about women but I end up making films about violent men. Now that everything is colliding, it may end up turning things upside-down for me. This collision is exciting because everything around me becomes so uncertain and we must not forget that the second enemy of creativity, after having ‘good taste’, is being safe.
To put that into a little better context, Gosling plays Julian, an American fugitive from justice who runs a boxing club in Bangkok as a front for his drug business. His mother (Kristin Scott Thomas), the head of a vast criminal organization, arrives from the US to collect the body of her favorite son, Billy.
Julian’s brother has just been killed after having savagely murdered a young prostitute. Crazy with rage and thirsty for vengeance she demands the heads of the murderers from Julian. But first, Julian must confront Chang (Vithaya Pansringarm), a mysterious retired policeman – and figurehead of a divine justice – who has resolved to scourge the corrupt underworld of brothels and fight clubs.
Next we come to the soundtrack and score details, something any fan of Refn’s Drive is sure to take interest in. Refn has reteamed with Drive composer Cliff Martinez who has clearly found his own share of collaborators in putting the score together. Check out the tracklisting below.
- Only God Forgives – Cliff Martinez feat. Gregory Tripi
- Ask Him Why He Killed My Brother – Cliff Martinez feat. Gregory Tripi
- Chang and Sword – Cliff Martinez
- Chang Vision – Cliff Martinez feat. Gregory Tripi
- Do As Thou Will – Cliff Martinez
- Can’t Forget – Cliff Martinez feat. Mac Quayle and Vithaya Pansringarm
- Crystal Checking In – Cliff Martinez feat. Gregory Tripi
- More Hands – Cliff Martinez
- Sister Part 1 – Cliff Martinez feat. Gregory Tripi
- Take It Off – Cliff Martinez feat. Mac Quayle
- Leave My Son In Peace – Cliff Martinez feat. Gregory Tripi and Mac Quayle
- Falling In Love – Cliff Martinez feat. Gregory Tripi and Ratha Phongam
- Crystal and the Bodybuilders – Cliff Martinez
- Ladies Close Your Eyes – Cliff Martinez feat. Gregory Tripi
- Bride of Chang – Cliff Martinez feat. Mac Quayle
- Wanna Fight – Cliff Martinez
- You Are My Dream – Proud
And finally we come to the pictures and posters, which I have spread out over a few pages. Just click on Next Page below and begin the journey.
Only God Forgives is playing In Competition at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival and will hit domestic theaters on July 19. For more information on the film and trailers click here.