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Only God Forgives

506 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Julian (Ryan Gosling), an American fugitive from justice, runs a boxing club in Bangkok as a front for his drug business. His mother (Kristin Scott Thomas), the head of a vast criminal organization, arrives from the US to collect the body of her favorite son, Billy. Julian’s brother has just been killed after having savagely murdered a young prostitute. Crazy with rage and thirsty for vengeance she demands the heads of the murderers from Julian. But first, Julian must confront Chang (Vithaya Pansringarm), a mysterious retired policeman - and figurehead of a divine justice - who has resolved to scourge the corrupt underworld of brothels and fight clubs.

Product Details

  • Actors: Ryan Gosling, Scott Thomas, Vithaya Pansringarm
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Radius
  • DVD Release Date: October 22, 2013
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 2.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (506 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,769 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

113 of 130 people found the following review helpful By Ben Pieper on August 3, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant Video
Ever since catching a whiff of the plot for Only God Forgives on the internet a few years ago, the film was at the top of my watch-list. Once the movie's subversive first poster (a beat up Ryan Gosling and the title of the film) came to light, I knew it was going to be an event. My own excitement aside, I must admit that Only God Forgives is not for everyone; it's not even meant for everyone who enjoyed Nicolas Winding Refn's previous Gosling collaboration Drive.

Only God Forgives has some of the most shockingly ornate film violence in recent memory and that very same aestheticized violence is what has been earning it shaky reviews from critics (currently 38% at Rotten Tomatoes at the time of this review) and audiences (Currently 6.2 on IMDB) alike. What it all comes down to is how much you can appreciate the art of filmmaking. That may sound like the most pretentious critic statement of all time, but Only God Forgives is a film that has absorbed its influence from many cinematic greats. Throughout the movie I could not stop recalling Stanley Kubrick films like The Shining and Eyes Wide Shut. Eventually the credits reveal that Kubrick's frequent crew member Larry Smith was the director of photography for Refn on this picture. Kubrick is not the only auteur whose influence can be seen in this film. Artists like David Lynch and Alejandro Jodorowsky (whom the film is dedicated to) can be recognized by the seasoned eye.

One of the criticisms in customer reviews is the film's violence. Only God Forgives is not for viewers with weak stomachs or squeamish tendencies.If someone reading this is considering showing this to their kids for any reason I can confidently say that they should keep their children under the age of 16 as far away from this movie as possible.
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49 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 20, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant Video
Controversial as this film already is (the critics hate it, those who have watched it either hate or love it), it is a solid stretch of cinematic art by writer/director Nicolas Winding Refn. He is an artist who challenges audiences and takes enormous risks: his 1996 film, the extremely violent and uncompromising PUSHER became a cult phenomenon and won Refn instant international critical acclaim. That was followed by BLEEDER and the now cult classic DRIVE. Each of these films is highly stylized and focuses on introverted reactions to outward situations. ONLY GOD FORGIVES pushes those traits even further: completely set in Thailand it weighs in on Asian symbolism, spiritualism and response to revenge or own hand rights. It is very dark, both in the cinematography of Larry Smith and in the ever-present veneer of killing and death and mutilation. The entire film is a study in color manipulation, slow movement (as in Noh theater), minimal dialog, and even more minimal character development. And yet somehow Refn makes all of this work to his advantage to hold the audience, as though imprisoned, to examine the extents of evil.

The setting is Bangkok. Ten years ago Julian (Ryan Gosling) killed a man and went on the run. Now he manages a Thai boxing club as a front for a drugs operation. Respected in the criminal underworld, deep inside, he feels empty. When Julian's brother Billy (Tom Burke) murders an underage prostitute, the police call on retired cop Chang (Vithaya Pansringarm) - the Angel of Vengeance whose other obsession is Karaoke singing. Chang allows the father to kill his daughter's murderer, then 'restores order' by chopping off the man's right hand.
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78 of 101 people found the following review helpful By Shaun Colley on August 6, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant Video Verified Purchase
Most of the critics who did not like this film criticized it on grounds that are not accurate to the film at all. People who liked drive will like this film. The violence is not close to Tarantino films. The film has beautiful technique and every sound and scene is delivered perfectly. The color contrast is excellent.

I do not know where the complaints that this film is pretentious come from. Yes it would be classified as an arthouse film and it is definitely stylized. But it is a beautiful film that anyone who takes film serious needs to see and form their own opinions about it.

I give it the movie five stars because I enjoyed every minute of it. It is cliched but not in a bad way. I do not want to reveal too much of the plot but it is a good guy versus bad people film but don't be shocked to find this cliche exciting and told in an interesting, new way.

My last bit of praise comes from the acting. Everyone was perfect and you will walk away from the film still thinking about each character. People who view this will form different opinions about each character. Kristin Scott Thomas is one of the strongest personalities in the film. (I have no clue where the misogynistic complaints come from, violence and fighting are not misogynistic. The same people who criticized this film have given praise to films with a lot of misogyny. A few characters can be misogynistic, but that is a reflection of tue reality of some people in the world. The film does not endorse misogyny and it in fact strikes it done with harsh punishment.)

If you do not exactly what to think before watching this film I'd recommend Richard Roeper's review from the Chicago Sun-Times. I loved it but not everyone will.
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