Ryan Gosling movie booed at Cannes

Ben Arnold

Kristin Scott Thomas has already said that Nicolas Winding Refn's new film 'Only God Forgives', in which she stars, is 'not her thing'.

“Films where this kind of violence happens, I don't like watching them at all,” she told The Playlist.

Now it seems that a fair portion of the critics at Cannes agree with her.

Both Vulture and the Daily Mail report that loud boos were heard during some of the torture scenes in the film.

“To judge from the boos and whistles after the 'Only God Forgives' screening today, I wouldn't exactly lay odds on a 'Best Director' repeat for Refn,” wrote Vulture's Kyle Buchanan.

“When one character stuck his hand inside a woman's slashed body, the audience locked and loaded its boos. Gosling doesn't have much to say in this movie, but the auditorium sure did.”

Refn's new feature, which stars Gosling as a man charged by his mother with avenging the murder of his brother, has certainly caused some strong opinions to come to the fore.

Jeffrey Wells of the Hollywood Elsewhere website was also most lyrical about his dislike of the film, and did not hold back with his language.

[Only God Forgives trailer lands]

"Movies really don’t get much worse than Nicholas Winding Refn‘s 'Only God Forgives',” he writes. “It’s a sh*t macho fantasy - hyper violent, ethically repulsive, sad, nonsensical, deathly dull, snail-paced, idiotic, possibly woman-hating, visually suffocating, pretentious.

“I realize I sound like Rex Reed on one of his rants, but trust me, please - this is a defecation by an over-praised, over-indulged director who thinks anything he cr*ps out is worthy of your time. I felt violated, sh*t upon, sedated, narcotized, appalled and bored stiff.”

Variety magazine's Peter Debruge appeared to agree.

“As hyper-aggressive revenge fantasies go, it’s curious to see one so devoid of feeling, a veniality even 'Drive' fans likely won’t be inclined to forgive,” he writes.

“Watching Gosling withhold, one can practically hear the director behind the camera, demanding take after take, as he shouts, 'Let’s try it again, only this time, more impassive!'”

Time Out's Dave Calhoun, meanwhile, said: “Style over substance doesn't really tell the half of it: you can bathe a corpse in groovy light and dress it in an expensive suit, but in the end that rotting smell just won't go away.”

Some were a little more charitable, however.

“'Only God Forgives' is a failure but a rather magnificent failure, made on Refn's own terms,” says Jamie Graham of Total Film. “It is a beautiful, hollow film, with the director's insistence that Julian is fighting God – and that the film is about existential crisis – needing to be taken at its word. For most, it simply comes down to this: it's no 'Drive'.”

Peter Bradshaw at the Guardian, meanwhile, appears to be among the film's only true fans.

“'Only God Forgives' will, understandably, have people running for the exits, and running for the hills. It is very violent, but Winding Refn's bizarre infernal creation, an entire created world of fear, really is gripping.

“Every scene, every frame, is executed with pure formal brilliance. I'm afraid it's going to be even nastier the next time I watch it,” he wrote.

It's out in the UK on August 2.