CANNES: Star Ryan Gosling on Wednesday stayed away from the Cannes premiere of his latest film, the ultra-violent “Only God Forgives”, a blood-spattered revenge tale set in Bangkok.

Boos rang out after a press screening of the movie in which Kristin Scott Thomas also stars as a cross between “Lady Macbeth and Donatella Versace”, but some critics later praised the film.

“Drive” director Nicolas Winding Refn’s film left many in the auditorium wincing or unable to watch, although some lines sparked unintended laughter.

In one scene, Gosling’s character Julian tells his crime boss mother (Scott Thomas) that his brother Billy has raped and killed a 16-year-old girl. “I’m sure he had his reasons,” Scott Thomas replies, unrecognisable in long blond wig, fake eyelashes and garish clothes.

Winding Refn’s film is one of 20 in the race for the festival’s top Palme d’Or prize. In a letter read out to a news conference, Gosling apologised for missing Wednesday evening’s premiere.  The Canadian star is in Detroit in the third week of shooting his directorial debut “How To Catch A Monster”.

In another scene, Thai actor Vithaya Pansringarm playing an ex-cop on a mission to purge Bangkok of sleaze, pins a man to an armchair with knives and stabs him through the eye. Even Scott Thomas, better known for playing upper-crust Englishwomen with plummy accents, admitted to queasiness.

Winding Refn, in production notes, says he was keen to see her play a mix of Shakespeare’s bloodiest female character and fashion designer Versace. “This kind of film is really not my thing,” Scott Thomas told reporters after the press screening. “Films where this kind of violence happens I don’t enjoy watching.” But she said she decided to get involved in a film she considered “hyper violent and quite disturbing” to work with Winding Refn and “play this wild, savage person”.–AFP