Nicolas Refn’s Only God Forgives premiered at Cannes this week, unfortunately, without its star Ryan Gosling in attendance. Gosling was away on his own directorial duties for his debut, How to Catch a Monster, but he did send an extremely polite note to apologize for his absence.

“I can’t believe that I’m not in Cannes with you,” Gosling wrote, quoted by Time Magazine. “I was hoping to be coming but I am in the third week of shooting my movie. I miss you all. Nicolas, my friend, we really are the same, simply in different worlds and I am sending you good vibrations. I am with you all.”

Yes, of course we forgive you, Ryan. Also, you can have as much time as you like and we’re sure the film is going to be a majestic work of art (a bit too much). Unfortunately, the discerning Cannes audience and the critics thus far haven’t been as forgiving of Only God Forbids, which has taken something of a blasting for its garish colour palette and overly dramatic attempts at being a violent, arty revenge flick.

Nicolas Refn, Only God Forgives Cannes PhotocallRyan Gosling, The place beyond the pines premiere
Expectations are high for Refn and Gosling's second collaboration.

As for the revenge flick category, the film certainly has what it takes to fit in there. Exotic, slightly uncomfortable setting for the average North American viewer: check. The Bangkok setting seems like the perfect backdrop for the bloodshed that is about to unfold. Unforgivable deed that needs to be avenged? The death of the main character’s utterly terrible brother, Billy, takes care of that. Brooding, yet relatable main character? Cue Ryan Gosling as Julian, an American hoodlum holed up in Bangkok, where he runs a kickboxing arena as a front for an international drug-smuggling syndicate. Throw in some mommy issues and a hardcore Thai police detective on the hunt and you’ve got yourself a film that, even if it isn’t a critics’ darling, is still (probably) well worth a watch.