Only God Forgives


Viewed – 28 December 2013  Blu-ray

Was looking forward to this.  From both the director and star of cult classic in the making, Drive comes a revenge thriller set in Bangkok.  Following the murder of his brother, a drug dealer (Ryan Gosling) and his conniving mother (Kristin Scott Thomas) set out to avenge the death and come up against a ruthless cop, who lives by his own rules, regardless of the law.

Only-God-Forgives-Ryan-Gosling

Shot in a noir style with lots of lingering stares, very brief dialogue and a deliberate slow pace – this goes for serious moody thriller with an exotic setting, but instead delivers a tiresome, amateurishly acted drama livened up with extreme violence.  What Director Nicholas Winding Refn’s previous effort managed, was style and substance and good casting – this has all those ingredients, but doesn’t gel.  The dialogue is delivered straight faced, emotion-free and with long pauses between each sentence, making every scene look like a student art movie, complete with some mystifying symbolism.  The revenge plot is ok, even if the villainous Cop’s motives are confusing, and although Scott-Thomas delivers a diverting femme fatale, Gosling – who was so good in Drive and broke out from his usual pretty boy rom-com type-casting, is wasted – even a fist-fight towards the end is a let down. 

A real shame then as I loved the setting, thought some moments were quite disturbing (the brother’s murder) and technically it’s shot well and looks great … Bangkok becoming a character of it’s own – but overall a case of too much style and too little actual movie.

Verdict:  2 /5

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