When movies like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre are taken seriously by critics and elevated to cult classic status, beware of the fallout.
Art cinema and torture porn are not natural bedfellows, which is where Danish writer/director Nicolas Winding Refn comes in.
He made his name with the ultra-violent Pusher trilogy, followed by the double-ultra Bronson. His recent box office hit – his first outing with Ryan Gosling – was Drive, which gave him the green light for Only God Forgives.
The first thing to be said is that the acting stinks, even from Gosling, once dubbed the new James Dean, who glowers dully throughout and hardly speaks.
Only the ever-wondrous Kristen Scott Thomas, unrecognisable as the ex-beauty queen turned gangland bossette, comes away with any kind of credit.
The plot appears to be a pale excuse for scenes of gratuitous blood letting. After an alcoholic American drug dealer murders a teenage prostitute in Bangkok, the policeman in charge of the case allows the dead girl’s father to kill the killer before being mutilated himself.
The chillingly cold and arrogantly vicious mother (Scott Thomas) of the drug dealer arrives from the States and orders her younger son (Gosling), on the run himself for shooting a cop, to find his brother’s murderer and take him out as painfully as possible.
Half way through the movie, your mind goes numb and you lose the will to live.
Suicide is not an option. Your senses have already been torn from their roots and roasted.