×
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

  • Loureiro’s Abano, Aragón’s Caribe Music Team

    Chelo Loureiro, Emilio Aragón Team on Animated ‘Valentina’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    CANNES – Spanish producer-turned director Chelo Loureiro of Galicia’s Ábano Producións has teamed with Spanish multi-hyphenate Emilio Aragón at Caribe Music to produce the upcoming animated feature “Valentina.” Valentina turns on a girl who is tired of having Down syndrome, and believes it to be the reason she’ll never be a trapeze artist. But Valentina’s [...]

  • Morelia Brings Four Shorts To Cannes

    Morelia’s Daniela Michel Presents Four Standout Mexican Shorts at Critics' Week

    Since 2005, the Cannes Film Festival Critics’ Week and Mexico’s Morelia Intl. Film Festival (FICM) have enjoyed a reciprocal relationship. Each year, a selection of short competition films from Morelia is shown in a special selection at Critics’ Week, with the features from the Cannes section screening five months later in Morelia. The short film [...]

  • Fedor Bondarchuk Drops Teaser for ‘Attraction

    Fedor Bondarchuk Drops Teaser for ‘Attraction 2’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    CANNES–Russian director Fedor Bondarchuk and his Art Pictures Studio have released the English-subbed teaser to “Attraction 2,” the sequel to Bondarchuk’s 2017 sci-fi blockbuster, which Variety has acquired exclusively. The director behind record-breaking Russian films such as World War II epic “Stalingrad” was in Cannes this week, where he presented footage from Art Pictures’ slate of upcoming [...]

  • Gkids Takes North American Rights for

    Gkids Takes North American Rights for ‘Weathering With You’

    CANNES–Gkids, the U.S. distributor of 11 best animated feature Oscar nominees, has acquired North American rights for “Weathering With You,” the new film from director Makoto Shinkai and producer Genki Kawamura. Gkids has set an awards-qualifying run for 2019 with a theatrical release in early 2020, in both the original Japanese and a new English-language [...]

  • Transilvania Film Fest Launches New SVOD

    Transilvania Film Fest Launches New SVOD Platform

    CANNES–The Transilvania Intl. Film Festival has announced a new SVOD service, TIFF Unlimited, which will launch during the festival’s 18th edition, which bows May 31 in Cluj, Romania. The service will curate titles from current and previous editions of the festival, while also showcasing other hand-picked auteur-driven productions, presented in partnership with local distributors. It [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content