Nicolas Winding Refn's Only God Forgives is a grimy throwback. Danger and debauchery paint the walls and pavement, and violence settles all scores and sick sentiments.
Crystal is a potty-tongued, sexy beast of perversion, snaking the line between mother and criminal, and often mixing the two. She orders a drive-by on Chang and his crew, which is a mess from the start. Chang survives and sets out for his own form of retribution, slicing through Crystal's network, inventively painful and pandering. Revenge and redemption are one and the same in these parts.
Julian barely speaks. He runs a Muay Thai gym, stone-faced and sauced with a lusty obsession for a pretty stripper named Mai (Rhata Phongam), whom he tries to pass off as real love in front of his ultra-abrasive mom. Crystal bombs out the entire thing, leaving Julian looking to please something in this galaxy by offering on old-fashioned, two-fisted knuckler with Chang to square what happened to Billy. Julian's no match for Chang and gets his ass beat.
Chang tags Crystal with the failed cop hit and she meets the wrong end of his blade, but not before planting Julian and a thug in Chang's home, waiting to take him out. Julian drowns the plan. He puts three in the back of his associate when Chang's little daughter comes home from school. Chang lives again to play the vengeful, bad-ass angel of penance.
Yes, this is the third film starring Gosling that I've reviewed for the site. Hey, he's grown on me and he also happens to be in some pretty damn good movies. I know he has a legion of admirers for reasons not associated with his considerable acting ability. I'll admit he's handsome. And it doesn't bother me when a girl tells me he's hot. Because it's like me with Alicia Keys - no chance in hell.