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Only God Forgives

2.4 out of 5 stars 913 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.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    R
    Restricted
  • Studio: Radius
  • DVD Release Date: October 22, 2013
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 2.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (913 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00E1LNDDU
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #38,669 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Amazon 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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Format: Amazon 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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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
If you're looking for an extremely abstract film that doesn't express itself with direct human interaction but the perception of it and many dream like connections that flow into one another in mysterious ways that don't make much sense unless (or if) you decide to watch it again, then this may be the movie for you to watch. Think of The Machinist, only a lot harder to follow.
The story is very tough to follow because we don't really have a protagonist to connect with since we know so little about them to begin with. The movie doesn't care to let us know enough since hardly anyone speaks in the movie. Gosling's role is bare bones. He is great in Drive (also from this director), but here he's given almost nothing to work with as his scenes are just flashes of him frozen in thought, but almost no action afterwards.
It shows him with clenched fists for a minute with explanation, then cuts to a scene with a brutal police boss attack criminals.
Very strange film. At the end, I could see the point, but only after listening to the commentary. Too abstract for the storytelling and entertainment I was looking for. Abstract, dreamlike and a very experimental film... Not for me anyway.
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
In Nicolas Winding Rifn's film 'Only God Forgives', a senseless act of violence initiates Paleolithic vengeance protocols, retaliations escalating in a sad, silent procession of carnage that no one seems able or willing to stop. Forgiveness is left to God, as everyone else accepts this primeval madness buried in the human evolutionary base-code. The protagonist, Julian, is played by Ryan Gosling, reuniting the actor-director team from 'Drive'. Beautifully shot, NWR lets the blood flow freely throughout a claustrophobic warren of streets and alleys in modern-day Bangkok. Red sets and oversaturated lighting add to the dream-like atmosphere and symbolism. Julian attempts to cut the fuse before the bomb goes off, showing an unexpected mercy after finding the man who killed his brother, Billy. This mercy goes unforgiven. Gun in hand, he listens to the killer's story, and learns that his brother raped and killed a teenage girl.

Enter Chang, often accompanied by a squad of loyal cops, who apparently view his backalley judgements and punishments as Divine Will. His attire is instantly recognizable to locals as the uniform of a retired policeman, and he wields a Kachin Dha*, a tool, weapon and traditional executioner's sword. Known as 'The Angel of Death', he grows more terrifying as the film continues, an ancient and preternatural arbitrar of judgement and retribution. Chang involves himself as an interlocutor in the language of barbarity, with the purpose of cutting the circle of revenge and providing an end-point, an exit, a way out. He leads the girl's father to the room where his daughter's corpse and her killer were both waiting, and lets the father beat Billy's head to splinters.
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