Forgives brings on the hate

Forgives brings on the hate
Ryan Gosling in Only God Forgives.

SINGAPORE/LOS ANGELES - Interviewing Danish film-maker Nicolas Winding Refn can be an unnerving experience. He speaks in a monotone that drips with boredom and irritation.

But it is hard to tell if he is really bored and irritated.

From the evidence of a few YouTube videos, it appears that this Vulcan-style drone is standard for the maker of well- received crime thriller Drive (2011), starring Ryan Gosling.

He might indeed have been grumpy during his telephone interview with Life! from Los Angeles last week but it is hard to blame the writer- director, now based in the United States.

This would have been his umpteenth interview since the release of revenge thriller Only God Forgives (also starring Gosling) and probably the thousandth time the 42-year-old had been asked how he felt when, after the film's premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in May, the audience booed.

Two years ago, the same festival had nominated Drive for a Palme d'Or and gave him a Best Director prize.

There is an ominous pause before Refn speaks.

"In Cannes, there's always love and hate. That was the same situation with Drive. It's always that same thing. You can only make what you feel is the right thing to do and not concern yourself with what other people think.

"The most important element is the audience. People see movies and talk about movies. That's a sign of success. When people love or hate your work, it means it has penetrated the audience's lives and once it penetrates, it stays with them and it becomes part of their DNA. When people passionately love or hate something, that means it's organic. It's a living organism."

Refn's talk of penetration and living organisms is apt.

Only God Forgives is drenched in blood, both real and metaphorical, not to mention amputations, decapitations and, yes, penetrations of blade into flesh and of one body part into another.

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