Some films seem designed to polarise audiences, and this edgy, minimalist exercise in excess is one of them. Set in the sweaty squalor of neon-tinged Bangkok – do good things ever happen in this city? – Director Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive; the Pusher trilogy) presides over a feverish blend of ultra-violence, corruption, bad mothering and karaoke. In a wonderfully foul-mouthed performance, the normally classy Kristin Scott Thomas arrives in town as an angry criminal matriarch to command her taciturn criminal son (Ryan Gosling from Drive) to exact revenge for the murder of his brother. He’s reluctant to do so, though, on moral grounds, which displeases her. Simultaneously seedy and artsy, the film has a jagged stop-start pace that will mesmerise some, bore others and confound those left over. But if your hunger for something different has been sharpened by all the prequels, sequels, remakes and reboots around at the moment, this weird, twisted, bloody film is bound to satisfy.
8 out of 10