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Only God Forgives [Blu-ray]
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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.
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If you're going in expecting to see another Drive, then you are going to have a very bad time, this is a completely different kind of movie and isn't anywhere as near as accessibly. But if you enjoy movies that are very stylized, go at their own pace and tell some of the story through what some may consider unconventional means, then give this movie a shot.
The film isn't dialogue heavy nor is very action oriented but instead focuses on the strange characters that inhabit its world. some of the violence is senseless (as it is in real life), sexual themes bubble up and sometimes the character's actions are impulsive. All of this creates a gritty world filmed in a way to make you the viewer feel like a voyeur watching from a dark corner.
Director Refn's work here is pure B-movie genius presented as mainstream high art and I believe that may be where the disconnect between critic and film comes. "only God Forgives" is a strange, twisted film that looks at broken people guided by a sense of justice warped by their varying levels of morality (or lack of) who collide in an unsavory place with nasty consequences. There is no grand plot, just characters, conflict, a series of events and a conclusion - all served presented in beautifully shot dark scenes wrapped in neon city lights and dreary sunlight.
If you are looking for a film with a message, amazing acting or a fantastic action film you should pass. This film is definitely for those of us who stay up late, watch crazy films and wake up the next day with a smile asking "was that movie real?"
Top international reviews
Unfortunately, it doesn't work. Ryan Gosling's tried and tested formula of saying little and staring into space reacting to events around him, quickly becomes tiresome and ultimately contributes to what becomes an irritating movie.
The script is off, disjointed and in place unconvincing. Whilst the set designs are well done, the overall sense if that there is too much style at the expense of everything else. Kristen Thomas' lines and character aren't convincing and it's not clear what the themes are here, never mind what the movie has to say.
The best character in the move is the police chief who is really the most entertaining character in the film.
Overall I found this quite a frustrating movie to watch, as if the director had some half baked ideas that weren't fully realised.
This was an 18 rated and has violence BUT the rest is just staring, creeping about and would probably classed as a genre or film noir, found it boring but stuck with it, now regretted.
Currently on this website it has 47% one stars reviews, and 23% five star reviews.