Ryan Gosling on playing an "avatar" in "Only God Forgives"

Ryan Gosling has teamed up once again with his "Drive" director Nicolas Winding Refn for "Only God Forgives" -- a new crime thriller that's been described as a Western set in Bangkok, Thailand.

The "Gangster Squad"star plays Julian, an American drug smuggler asked by his sadistic mother, (Kristin Scott Thomas -- looking almost unrecognizable here) to hunt down a Thai cop (Vithaya Pansringarm) who previously arranged to have Gosling's character's brother killed.

Julian bears many similarities to the Driver, the unnamed protagonist from the previous collaboration between Refn and Gosling -- who've become close friends over the years.

Gosling has very few lines in "Only God Forgives" and much of his on-screen time is spent reacting to the characters or settings surrounding him, much like his previous character in "Drive." The 31-year-old Oscar-nominated actor says it's difficult not to talk while acting.

"For me the film was kind of like a video game," Gosling said. "You know where like the central character isn't really a character as much as an avatar for the audience. In 'Drive,' I was the driver and in this film I was the car. That's how I looked at it."

"Only God Forgives" has been met with a mixed reaction so far, completely dividing the critical consensus. The film was screened at this year's Cannes Film Festival in May, where some of the audience members gave it a standing ovation while others booed during the end credits.

We'll see how American viewers react when "Only God Forgives" opens in theaters on Friday.

Watch the video above to see Gosling, Refn and Thomas speak about their unorthodox new offering.

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    Ken Lombardi is an entertainment reporter for CBS News. He has interviewed over 300 celebrities, including Clint Eastwood, Oprah Winfrey and Tom Hanks.