Director Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive, Only God Forgives) may be a little too “style over substance” for most viewers, but nobody can deny that the filmmaker has their full attention when he announces a new project.
Refn is currently gearing up for The Avenging Silence, a feature film about a former European spy who accepts a confidential mission from a Japanese businessman exiled to France to take down the head of the most treacherous Yakuza boss in Japan – If this description doesn’t doesn’t peak your interest, then you’re stuck in 2 Fast 2 Furious land.
At one point, Refn expressed an interest to direct a James Bond film (there were even reports that he had met with 007 producers); obviously, a deal never came to fruition, but The Avenging Silence may be the next best thing – if not better. In fact, Bond veterans Neal Purvis and Robert Wade (Casino Royale, Skyfall) wrote the script. Refn himself describes it as “a big extravagant action film” that’s inspired by Ian Fleming‘s Dr. No and William Burroughs‘ Nova Express. With these elements, combined with Refn’s unconventional method, the possibilities are exhilarating.
At this time, there is no set production date, nor is there a lead attached (if Refn decides to recruit Ryan Gosling for a third time, we’ll take it). What is available is an extended plot synopsis (via The Playlist).
If you’re sensitive to minor spoilers, you may want to skip it:
The spy was one of the leading spies in Europe. An injury inflicted to his vocal cords during a failed mission six years ago left him mute, forcing him to leave his profession. Now, six years later, he is sought out and put on confidential assignment by a former Yakuza, now a retired Japanese businessman in exile in France, to track down and kill the head of the most dangerous Yakuza family in Japan.
Afraid of flying, our spy anonymously boards a cargo ship headed for Tokyo. An onboard explosion sinks the ship and our spy finds himself washed ashore on a life raft in southern Japan. As a mute, our spy must silently journey through Japan seeking 4 clues – symbolizing conquest, war, famine, and death – which will guide him to the unknown location of the Yakuza boss.
Meanwhile, the Yakuza boss, known for his 2004 mass slaughter of Yakuza members who had turned against him, is believed to be plotting to reenter the Japanese underworld after living in his own surreptitious world in the mountains, void of all technology. This way of life becomes an obsession for the Yakuza boss. Rumors spread that he had committed suicide years ago but escaped prisoners from his hidden camp told stories of his plan for a comeback. Now rival Yakuza families suspect he is forming a master plan to return, a plan that unburies the most infamous story of Yakuza betrayal.
Our spy finds himself on an existential journey through Japan in search of pieces to the puzzle that will lead him to a confrontation with the ultimate Yakuza boss in a terrifying conclusion.
We’ll keep you posted on The Avenging Silence as we hear more. In the meantime, Refn directed the first episode of Les Italiens, a noir series about a squad of French/Italian policemen working in Paris’ famous Quai des Orfevres headquarters. An announcement for the the show’s airing should hit soon. Stay tuned.