The way Refn always succeeds in creating this ominous neon ambiance is amazing, the story line somehow missteps a lot, most of the times does not make much sense, but that's not really a problem, the feelings seems always more important on the Refn work than narrative coherency. The biggest surprise on this gem is not indeed the one expression Gosling but the extraordinary performance of VITHAYA PANSRINGARM.
Unconventional in every sense - yet still built around the simple story of revenge. The visuals are alarmingly beautiful - soaked in neon and lingering on the screen for what feels like hours. The tension NWR creates is on another planet; a dark tale of morality, blood-fuelled world of silent violence.
Divisive and at times confusing, it’s a film I’ve watched many a time and hold by what I said back after I first watched it in 2013: “huh” and “hmmm”. It’s too easy to hate on this film with its unorthodox pacing and relatively transparent narrative. Nonetheless the film with its vibrant and often harsh visuals along with an eerie soundtrack make it an experience whether you end up liking or hating it.
In a cinematic landscape where life is often cheap and “corpses” of unnamed extras litter the big set-pieces, this is a sobering work that goes against all that. Every action has a consequence, sometimes a terrible one, and every act of pain FEELS painful. The fact that some criticised the film for being excessively violent just proves its point, especially as it is less violent than many other mainstream choices.
This is an empty and unimaginative revenge thriller. The thinness of the writing is partially covered by its art-house pretensions and a silly bit of cod-Freudian psychology. Gosling is, as always, dull, and Vithaya Pansringarm provides a bit of unintentional comedy by walking from room to room as though he'd just shat himself. There are lots of films available on Mubi - please don't waste your time with this one.
Because our imagination must be set free and left to run wide, or risk as audience or film makers, the pitfalls of cliche. Refn explores the possibilities of cinematography as it fights to dominate the storytelling and as a result leaves you wanting to watch it again and again because you will not be spoon fed anything other than visual nirvana.
the movie was fantastic, captivating, beautiful and disturbing. however the ending left me profoundly disappointed, i felt unsatisfied in the worst way possible, it just felt profoundly wrong. probably because there was no real showdown between the police chief and gosling. overall i feel it had a lot of untapped potential.