You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Ryan Gosling’s ‘Only God Forgives’ Booed at Cannes Screening

Nicolas Winding Refn's stylish thriller gets chilly reception at press screening

When Danish auteur Nicolas Winding Refn brought his Ryan Gosling-starring thriller “Drive” to the Cannes competition two years ago, he earned largely rave reviews and a directing prize. It remains to be seen what this year’s Steven Spielberg-led jury makes of the latest Refn-Gosling joint, “Only God Forgives,” but the critical reception is in, and so far it ain’t pretty. A nasty, hyperviolent thriller set around Bangkok’s seedy brothels and boxing rings, the film was booed at its press screening earlier this morning, countered (as boos often are) by defiant shouts of “Bravo!” and scattered applause, indicating pockets of support.

Vapid, nihilistic exercises in style are often ripe for jeers in a competition as prestigious as this one, and Refn’s latest in particular owes a strong stylistic debt to his filmmaking mentor Gaspar Noe (he’s thanked in the end credits), himself something of a Cannes-boo specialist after shocking festival-goers with the likes of “Irreversible” and “Enter the Void.” It’s worth noting that Cannes audiences have booed their fair share of masterpieces as well, most famously Antonioni’s “L’avventura,” and that a film’s fest reception isn’t necessarily an indicator of how it will be greeted down the road.

REVIEW: ‘Only God Forgives

Still, those of us who sat through Refn’s visually arresting but distressingly empty thriller (aptly described by my colleague Peter Debruge as “an exercise in supreme style and minimal substance”) had our worst suspicions confirmed, based on early rumors that “Only God Forgives” had been slotted in competition at the producers’ insistence. Festival programmers had originally thought to put it in Midnight Screenings or the Directors’ Fortnight sidebar, where it would no doubt have been greeted with less hostility.

More Film

  • ITV Studios Global Ent. To Handle

    ITV Studios Global Ent. To Handle Movistar+ Original 'Felix'

    When Danish auteur Nicolas Winding Refn brought his Ryan Gosling-starring thriller “Drive” to the Cannes competition two years ago, he earned largely rave reviews and a directing prize. It remains to be seen what this year’s Steven Spielberg-led jury makes of the latest Refn-Gosling joint, “Only God Forgives,” but the critical reception is in, and […]

  • Media Luna Picks 'The Unseen,' 'Angela'

    Ventana Sur: Media Luna Picks Up Puenzo's 'The Unseen,' Quintero's ‘Angela’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    When Danish auteur Nicolas Winding Refn brought his Ryan Gosling-starring thriller “Drive” to the Cannes competition two years ago, he earned largely rave reviews and a directing prize. It remains to be seen what this year’s Steven Spielberg-led jury makes of the latest Refn-Gosling joint, “Only God Forgives,” but the critical reception is in, and […]

  • Virtual Reality Conference Promises to Ignite

    Virtual Reality Conference Promises to Ignite Singapore Media Festival

    When Danish auteur Nicolas Winding Refn brought his Ryan Gosling-starring thriller “Drive” to the Cannes competition two years ago, he earned largely rave reviews and a directing prize. It remains to be seen what this year’s Steven Spielberg-led jury makes of the latest Refn-Gosling joint, “Only God Forgives,” but the critical reception is in, and […]

  • SGIFF: Anup Singh Readies Third Film

    Singapore: ‘Scorpions’ Director Readies Third Film With Irrfan Khan (EXCLUSIVE) 

    When Danish auteur Nicolas Winding Refn brought his Ryan Gosling-starring thriller “Drive” to the Cannes competition two years ago, he earned largely rave reviews and a directing prize. It remains to be seen what this year’s Steven Spielberg-led jury makes of the latest Refn-Gosling joint, “Only God Forgives,” but the critical reception is in, and […]

  • Canal Plus

    Canal Plus Orders Thomas Lilti's 'Hippocrate' Medical Series

    When Danish auteur Nicolas Winding Refn brought his Ryan Gosling-starring thriller “Drive” to the Cannes competition two years ago, he earned largely rave reviews and a directing prize. It remains to be seen what this year’s Steven Spielberg-led jury makes of the latest Refn-Gosling joint, “Only God Forgives,” but the critical reception is in, and […]

  • 'Call Me by Your Name' Costumes,

    Luca Guadagnino Relied on a Pair of Longtime Friends for 'Call Me by Your Name' Decor, Costumes

    When Danish auteur Nicolas Winding Refn brought his Ryan Gosling-starring thriller “Drive” to the Cannes competition two years ago, he earned largely rave reviews and a directing prize. It remains to be seen what this year’s Steven Spielberg-led jury makes of the latest Refn-Gosling joint, “Only God Forgives,” but the critical reception is in, and […]

  • A Profile of Argentine Fantasy Genre

    Mar del Plata: Argentina on the Rise -- Demián Rugna

    When Danish auteur Nicolas Winding Refn brought his Ryan Gosling-starring thriller “Drive” to the Cannes competition two years ago, he earned largely rave reviews and a directing prize. It remains to be seen what this year’s Steven Spielberg-led jury makes of the latest Refn-Gosling joint, “Only God Forgives,” but the critical reception is in, and […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content