A visually gorgeous film; and no I don't mean because Mr Adolescent Goose stars as lead role (though we all know how he seems to get the gaggle swooning). Nicolas Winding Refn, the director of Drive (as mentioned in the poster above) presents this slowly unfurling Pantone advert, a 'must see' for any fan-boys (or girls) of expressive cinematography.
Despite reclining in comfort, bathed in early afternoon sunlight during a premature Spring-like day, prepared to like the forth-coming attraction, I can't ignore some of the curiosities that followed. First notable point would be regarding Ryan Gosling. He is known for his emotionally dysfunctional, brooding roles (aka a broken heart-throb), which in a strange sort of way he continues to play here, but I have not seen him quite so mute since Lars And The Real Girl (which I loved). Without the where-with-all to begin a Timex measurement I estimated that approximately half an hour had elapsed before a word was spoken by the face of the picture (this included moments in which conversation was directed toward him, met blankly). With Lars Lindstrom, it was very quickly obvious as to the reason for his reluctance of voice. As the surname-less Julian, a fight school owner/trainer/promoter/financier (not clearly defined in the beginning) there lies a certain mystery surrounding the voiceless, slowly moving, shade dwelling character.
[SPOILER ALERT] I'm calling this a 'spoiler' because it does pretty much describe all you need to know about the theme and direction of this movie, but is quoted directly from IMDB as the plot synopsis:
"Julian, a drug-smuggler thriving in Bangkok's criminal underworld, sees his life get even more complicated when his mother compels him to find and kill whoever is responsible for his brother's recent death."
There really isn't much more to add to the overall plot other than that there is an equally crazy, Bangkok detective who carries a short, sharp and swift pendulum of justice, equipped upon such time as he identifies the focus of his investigations. He is a man of seemingly inconspicuous disposition yet, from the moment of his intense karaoke rendition, it becomes clear as to his underplayed, creepiness.
The trailer, when it was first leaked to social media and the world wide inter-webs, implied Julian was a resilient and physical guy, asking 'wanna fight?' and showing a clip of him dragging a blood-stained Thai man down a corridor by his upper jaw. All very macho and brutal. Amusingly and unexpectedly (even though another leaked poster showed a baby goose post altercation with a nasty fox) he really cannot fight. I found this refreshing. It would be all too easy for your A-list star to be a tough cookie as well as doughy-eyed, but I greatly appreciated his ineptly wild swinging before being pummelled in front of his expensive oriental beauty. Each time he stumbled forward, bravely, with the intent to out-wit his more composed and assured opponent; each time caught off balance and relegated to his own personal space to quietly taste his own DNA.
I understand why those near and dear were despondent. You go to the cinema to see the follow up movie by the director of Drive and you get a picture that wouldn't be out of place in a display hall of Tate Modern. You could analyse it to death, searching for hidden meanings, translate visuals and still never fully appreciate the potential depth. But at the surface of this movie, and as I opened with, it is really beautiful; so watch it for that if not for the mere fact that Ryan 'Sexiest Man 2011' Gosling is in it.