Only God Forgives
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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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
90% of the movie is made up of Ryan staring (he doesn't have more than 8 lines for like the first 20 minutes of the film), or the other actors just...staring. These kinds of scenes made me laugh as the characters, especially Ryan Gosling, seem emotionless. Couple that with the neon lighting and mostly night time shots, and well, it makes for a weird film.
I'm all for an artsy flick. Heck, I can really enjoy a slow-moving movie every now and then. But this is just NOT worth your time. I would have loved to have heard how they pitched this movie to a producer and received funding, because so much of this movie is just people staring (not nearly as much violence as what I have read). One final cherry on top: one thing that could have redeemed this movie, was a scene with cool-sounding Tron-esque music in which a fight scene is set up. The fight scene was short and extremely disappointing. I don't write reviews often, but I had to let others know to not waste their time on this.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Ok. So I've read the negative reviews and some of the good reviews before watching this movie. The negative reviews almost made me turn away from watching it but I sucked it up and... Read morePublished 4 hours ago by Amazon Customer
Ryan Gosling is pretty but the movie is just weird and just leaves thinking okay what was that about?Published 2 days ago by Kanani Marie
boring, waited for something to happen...
It's obvious Gosling took the movie to pay bills...