Only God Forgives [movies]
Julian, a drug-smuggler thriving in Bangkok’s criminal underworld, sees his life get even more complicated when his mother compels him to find and kill whoever is responsible for his brother’s recent death.
Only God Forgives is a 2013 French-Danish co-production crime thriller film written and directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, starring Ryan Gosling,Kristin Scott Thomas, and Vithaya Pansringarm. The film was shot on location in Bangkok, Thailand. It was nominated for the Palme d’Or at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.
Julian Thompson is an American expatriate living in Bangkok, Thailand who runs a boxing club, which is actually a front for a massive drug smuggling operation. His older brother Billy brutally rapes and kills an underage prostitute before surrendering to the Thai police. Lieutenant Chang – known as the “Angel of Vengeance” – arrives on the scene before informing the girl’s father, Choi Yan Lee. Chang allows Choi to beat Billy to death, but cuts off the man’s arm for allowing his young daughter to remain in the business of prostitution.
Julian’s mother, Crystal, arrives in Bangkok to identify Billy’s corpse, much to Julian’s surprise. Crystal implores Julian to find the men who killed Billy, but he refuses, infuriating her. Julian and his crew go to Choi’s kiosk to confront him about his part in Billy’s murder. Choi reveals that he was forced to kill Billy by the “Angel of Vengeance”, and, by having his arm severed, has paid the price for his crime. Julian is mesmerized by the near-mythical Angel of Vengeance and spares the man’s life. Crystal demands that Julian kill the Angel of Vengeance, but he again refuses.
One night, Julian brings a prostitute, Mai, to meet Crystal, who, however, immediately begins hurling insults at her and Julian. Meanwhile, Liang, one of the fighters at Julian’s boxing club, assassinates Choi at the behest of Gordon, a member of Julian’s crew, at Crystal’s request. Julian finds out Gordon is responsible and tries to kill him, only to be interrupted by the arrival of police, including Chang. Chang concludes that Julian is not Choi’s killer, and Julian realizes that Chang is the Angel of Vengeance.
Crystal meets with a man called Byron to arrange Chang’s assassination. Three gunmen are sent to kill Chang at a restaurant, and one of Chang’s men is fatally wounded in the ensuing shootout. Chang manages to kill two of the gunmen and capture the third, who leads him to his boss Li Po, after which Chang kills the third gunman. Li Po points Chang to Byron, who ordered the hit. Chang finds Byron in a club and tortures him, stabbing his arms and legs with chopsticks, gouging out his eyes, and finally stabbing him in the ear with an ice pick, killing him.
Julian confronts Chang about his role in Billy’s murder and challenges him to a fight in the ring. Julian and Chang fight on the bare concrete floor of the boxing venue. Chang, an experienced boxer, easily and thoroughly beats Julian. Afterward, Crystal tells Julian that Chang has figured out she ordered the hit on him. Fearful, she orders Julian to kill him to avoid reprisals; Julian agrees.
Julian and his associate Charlie Ling enter Chang’s apartment, intent on ambushing him when he returns. At the same time, Chang and a police officer visit Crystal and Chang cuts her throat after she reveals that Julian murdered his own father and suspected she and Billy of having an incestuous relationship. Meanwhile, Charlie informs Julian that he was instructed to execute not only Chang, but his entire family. Charlie murders Chang’s wife as she enters the apartment, but is shot to death by Julian as he advances towards Chang’s young daughter.
Julian returns to the hotel and finds his mother’s corpse. After leaving and having several surreal visions, Julian is shown standing in a field with Chang, who cuts off both of Julian’s hands with his sword. The final scene shows Chang singing karaoke at his favorite bar.