Even with a lighting scheme that seems to be inspired by his home country’s Black Oven caves, Nicolas Winding Refn pumps in the life force in the new trailer for Only God Forgives. One vehicle for this energy is, naturally, star Ryan Gosling. As subdued and closed-mouthed as he is in the video, Gosling carries a kind of energy through the symphonic scenes that promise a dutiful follow-up to the pair’s 2011 creation, Drive. But Gosling isn’t the only draw, here. Not even the central source of nuclear power. That, in fact, is Kristin Scott Thomas, playing the bloodthirsty mother of the skulking hero.
While Gosling takes the low notes of the trailer, Thomas exudes pure vitality as a woman who demands of her surviving son the head of his brother’s killer. She shouts, pierces, and even causes a few shudders with her motionless glares. If the juxtaposition works as well in the feature as it does in the trailer, Only God Forgives has a lot more in store than some skulking looks and fist slow pump-worthy music.