Only God Forgives

Only God Forgives

Some people value style over content; I prefer a melding of
the two, which is why I found Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive so irritating and pretentious. But it could pass itself off
as a Disney movie compared to his newest effort, Only God Forgives. The director also wrote this heavy-handed
revenge melodrama (or is it a bone-dry comedy?) set in Bangkok.

Ryan Gosling, instructed again to maintain a poker face from
start to finish, plays a man who traffics in drugs. His brother’s murder arouses
the ire of two formidable figures: a local policeman who doesn’t hesitate to
use a massive sword that he carries on his person—after which he relaxes by
singing in karaoke bars—and Gosling’s mother, played by Kristin Scott Thomas,
whose manner (and foul mouth) are almost as lethal as that polished steel
weapon. It’s always interesting to watch this talented actress flex her muscles
(here, playing a cold-hearted American) but I’m sorry it’s in such a tiresome
movie.

Everything about Only
God Forgives
is shrouded in mood lighting and an air of portent. There is
no particular suspense, as we are never in doubt that the policeman is going to
use his sword to eviscerate the people who get in his way. It’s only a question
of when and where the violence will occur.

As
an exercise in high style, I suppose Only
God Forgives
has its merits. If one has a perverse sense of humor, I
suppose its overall absurdity might score a few points. I found nothing of
value here.

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Comments

Kyle

No disrespect… I dig your work, and understand disagreeing about film is normal. But one question. You didn't like the score or visuals? Most I know hated this, and I actually only liked it for the minimalist approach, stylized violence(overboard obviously), and music.

Thomas was great. Oh, and as a guy who doesn't think Gosling is the best actor; he seems much stronger in films where he has less lines. His character was in a chosen hell stuck between his mother who could be seen as the devil and the ex boxing champ/cop who's seen as a God. I thought that Drive was overrated, and hated the 80's Russian pop songs added while the score was much more effective.

I guess that I'm the only person who thought that this was better than Drive who believes that film was made by Albert Brooks, Cranston, Perlman and husband released from prison in the middle of the film carried it. I saw the Driver which was a superior film who was seriously ripped-off. The only difference, well, Walter Hill's film had amazing car chases that are realistic, intense, and was almost nonstop.

Venise Alstergren

Loved your comment, it came right from the heart. Thanks for warning me.

Mike

I'm always incredulous of how some of these overly hyped action flick fanboys (below) get their panties in a bunch over a negative review of a flick they haven't seen yet but just KNOW it has to be "awesome" or "amazing"…or whatever! We saw this reaction with the latest "Batman", "Superman" and "Lone Ranger" reincarnations and we're seeing it with this revenge bloodbath epic. It's only rated 34 per cent positive on Rotten Tomatoes…but of course the two thirds majority of those critics have it all wrong too huh? Go ahead and spend your $12.00 if you're a glutton for punishment though! The studios will love you for it! And as "M." says below "this film went over everyone's linear heads." Uh huh! All praise the Saint Quentin wannabes!

Jeffrey

This film was booed at the Cannes Film Festival.

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