Only God Forgives (2013) Refn and Gosling's Grudge Match
Kristen Scott Thomas is all cool rage like Donatella Versace with a vengeance when she arrives on the scene in Only God Forgives ready to throw around oedipal insults and bully Julian into the revenge game. Her character gives valuable insight into the backgrounds of her two boys, and the viewer is left to determine how vile her past actions had been to lead to this moment. She is a difficult character, and her manner is so crass it would be easy to dismiss her dialog (of which I think she might have the bulk of in the film) as intended for shock value. However, I think it more richly illustrates how her two sons became what they have become in a way that couldn't be shown without a strong characterization of the mother. Naturally, the other impressive character in the film is Thai actor Vithaya Pansringarm’s presence as the “Angel of Death”. To date, Pansringarm’s highest profile role was as the minister in The Hangover Part II, but I think Only God Forgives should change all that. No matter if his character is exacting God’s vengeance or commanding attention from his troops while singing a warbling karaoke, Pansringarm commanded attention in a way that balanced the film.