This movie didn't gain much of an audience as it is a pretty avant-garde and unknown film. It is stylistically breathtaking, and the characters are all toned down a little so they aren't overstated or reaching. Gosling is a very quiet character who doesn't say much in this movie.
The movie begins in with men boxing and slowly moves to Gosling's older brother visiting a brothel. The brother is a disgusting human being. When he gets to the brothel he tells the proprietor that he wants a younger girl, when the proprietor says he doesn't have anyone younger, the brother tells him to bring his daughter. He ends up not getting the 14-year old he wants. In the end bad things happen and the brother ends up dead. Gosling goes on the lookout for the person or people responsible for his brother's murder, but when he finds out why we find that he has a high set of morals. The mother then arrives and we find that the relationship between her and her two children is somewhat complicated.
We meet several characters throughout the movie, and none of them have any redeeming qualities. Even with his morals Gosling is still a despicable human being. Now, don't get me wrong, I did not hate this movie. It wasn't a great movie and seemed very simplistic, but it wasn't terrible either. The best part of this movie was the stunning atmosphere. The brilliant and florescent colors were fantastic, and the scenery was brilliant in working with the flow of the movie.
From one scene to another the picturesque brightness and the dim park work It is almost as with each scene the director is setting the mood and making sure the viewer understands what is happening. For example the scenes with the other are often bright and she is often the center of the picture, yet of what the audience learns she is one of the worst mothers in history. Each scene of violence is expertly portrayed with both bright colors.
I don't know if I can recommend this movie based on the acting or the merits of the movie, but as a stunning picture it is wonderful to watch. It was also interesting to see Gosling play a man of few words and not really much in the way of muscular prowess.
So take this review as you want, and either watch the movie for the settings, or skip it, it won't hurt my feelings.