The red-band trailer for Only God Forgives was surprisingly modest in its depiction of violence, considering the fact that the film centres around the world of Thai boxing and has murder and revenge at its core. It was a similar story with the red-band trailer for Drive, the last collaboration between director Nicolas Winding Refn and lead actor Ryan Gosling, which was not violent at all – right up to the moment when it suddenly became very, very violent.
Only God Forgives is about a drug-smuggler called Julian (Gosling), who runs his operation behind the front of a Thai boxing club in Bangkok, the city he fled to after committing a terrible crime many years ago. When Julian’s brother Billy (Tom Burke) is killed, their mother (Kristin Scott Thomas) arrives in Bangkok and orders her son to take revenge on a retired cop (Vithaya Pansringarm) who facilitated his murder.
The film has already been shortlisted for the Palme d’Or at Cannes this year, and two new international trailers have just been unveiled, each of which features a healthy mix of clips that we’ve seen before, along with new dialogue and scenes. The French trailer (seen above) and the Scandinavian trailer (below) both use dialogue snippets to set up the basics of the plot, before indulging in intermittently violent (though tempered) montages set to Cliff Martinez’s pulsing score. Thankfully, neither trailer falls into the trap of giving too much of the story away, so you can watch both without fear of spoilers.
There is also a brand-new poster for the film, which comes in both regular and animated form. EW revealed this highly-stylized, neon-themed poster that seems to be fairly representative of the film’s color palette. Distribution company Radius-TWC also tweeted an animated version of the poster, which will probably give you a headache if you stare at it for too long.
Drive was one of the critical darlings of 2011, so the hype for Only God Forgives is understandably strong. Surprisingly, Refn’s new film actually has a much smaller budget than Drive, which itself was made for a thrifty $15 million and saw significant profit at the box office. This might have something to do with the relatively low production costs of shooting in Thailand – or perhaps it’s just because there aren’t as many cars being destroyed in this movie.
Of the people who’ve seen Drive, there seems to be a pretty strong divide between those who absolutely loved it and those who were left cold by the directing style and Gosling’s poker-faced, dialogue-sparse character. From what’s been revealed thus far, Gosling seems to be in a similar sort of role here, and Only God Forgives looks like it’s infused with Refn’s customary style, but perhaps it will be distinctive enough to convert moviegoers who weren’t impressed by Drive.
Only God Forgives will premiere at Cannes next month and is set for wider release on July 19th, 2013.