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Kroistin Scott Thomas is almost unrecognizable in character ... (XX)
Kroistin Scott Thomas is almost unrecognizable in character ... (XX)
Kroistin Scott Thomas is almost unrecognizable in Only God Forgives. (Bold Films)

To many Kristin Scott Thomas is the epitome of British grace and elegance so it’s quite shocking to see her playing a foul-mouthed venomous she-wolf of a matriarch in the new bloody revenge tale Only God Forgives out in cinemas today.

In the picture Scott Thomas portrays, the mother of Julian (Ryan Gosling), the manager of a boxing club in Bangkok which is a front for an illegal drugs smuggling operation. When Julian’s brother is killed Scott Thomas’s character flies into town looking for revenge.

Crystal humiliates and emasculates Julian, she is a thoroughly unpleasant character.

Scott Thomas definitely sees Crystal as a departure. She says: “I sort of tried something new. I haven’t done anything like that before. Maybe on stage but not quite as rampantly evil.”

Some of Crystal’s dialogue is unprintable. Kristin Scott Thomas says:  “There was one particular line in the film which is outrageously horrible, vulgar and I had to do it 14 times. I just could not get it out.”

The film is exceeding violent, limbs get pierced and bodies disfigured. “It’s a very, very disturbing film,” says the actress.

When this picture directed by Nicolas Winding Refn was launched at the Cannes Film Festival opinion was divided. Refn’s fans embraced its strong visual qualities but others thought it was a thin story in which style trumped substance.

Scott Thomas might be playing a vulgar amoral woman in Only God Forgives but unlike Crysal her tastes in real life have a certain reassuring innocence and purity. The actress lives in Paris. When asked what she missed most about Britain she says: “ I miss the smell of washing powder, I miss fitted carpets. I miss tea.”

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By Tom Brook