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Plot: Bangkok. Ten years ago Julian 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 murders an underage prostitute, the police call on retired cop Chang - the Angel of Vengeance. Chang allows the father to kill his daughter's murderer, then 'restores order' by chopping off the man's right hand. Julian's mother Jenna - the head of a powerful criminal organization - arrives in Bangkok to collect her son's body. She dispatches Julian to find his killers and 'raise hell'. Runtime: 90 mins Release Date: 18 Jul 2013
Don't expect to see Drive's sequel, it would make no sense ! If you don't know Refn's movie you've got to know 3 important things : - He makes contemplative movies. With a lot of silence and a minimalist screenplay. - He said "Art is an act of violence" so don't expect to see a peaceful movie. - Drive is the least representative movie of his style.You'll need to create yourself a part of the story because it's a movie between reality and nightmare. It's a philosophical and metaphysical movie. A true experimental & artistic movie.This movie is <more>
fascinating ! Cinemathography is beautifully worked, use of the red light is perfect, framing also. Production design and the places make us perfectly return in the dark side of the film. We remain completely speechless front of the pictures that are beautiful, surprising and deeply disturbing. Violence becomes poetry.The story speaks about the male impotence, revenge is put on side, there is no real hero. Just the story of a lost man who seeks his way, other side a cop who thinks he is God. It's to the spectator to find the morals of the story.The music electro-pop and Vithaya's interpretations are in total agreement with the progression of the story and the pictures.The actors succeed in transmitting the feelings and impressions of the characters with simple glances.We leave the room completely disturbed, while being posed full with questions, trying to assimilate all the asked questions by the artist, but completely fascinated and excited !It is simple either one loves, or one hates this film. I loved it !Refn signs one of his best movies, he assumes completely his style and in my opinion proposes to us a real masterpiece.
Will be regarded as a classic in years to come. (by robhartjr)
I know that we all have our opinions, but the outrageously negative reviews this film is getting is ridiculous. My real score is closer to an 8.5/10, but I put 10/10 to help with the low score. Most of the harsh comments are from people who have only seen "Drive" and no other film by Nicolas Winding Refn. They keep comparing the films, and finding things to hate because it wasn't what they wanted from a 'sorta' sequel to "Drive". You can pretend this is a sequel to "Drive" since we never really learn about the Drivers life in the movie. You can just <more>
think that after the ending of "Drive", the Driver flees back to Bangkok where his brother is and then the events of "Only God Forgives" take place. Thats just a small possible plot line for if you wanna think this is a sequel to "Drive", even though there is a real sequel to the "Drive" novel called "Driven" that might get a film adaptation one day. But back to this movie.*Plot*Julian runs a thai boxing club as a disguise for a drug business. One day his brother kills a young prostitute and is in turn killed by the girls father as allowed by a disturbing cop named Chang. Julians mother flies in to claim the corpse and learns that Julian let the killer go. She orders one of Julians partners to have the man who killed her son killed. This starts a series of revenge murders between Chang, Julian and his mother. There are some similarities to "Drive" and other Refn movies here of course. The directing style and cinematography is very beautiful and gives the film a dreamy feel at times, and sometimes a nightmarish feel. Ryan Gosling basically loses all emotions for the character here. Kristin Scott Thomas character can be compared to Albert Brooks character from "Drive". But Kristin does an even more sadistic job and is relentlessly evil in this movie. You don't love her, but you don't hate her. None of the characters in this movie are really likable at all. Every evil decision has another evil decision from another character to counter it. During some parts of the movie Goslings character shows that he has a slight conscience of what is right and wrong. You don't feel bad for his brother being killed based on the crime he committed though. The only parts where you will really like Gosling is when he says the soon to be classic "Wanna fight?" line and when his character makes good moral decisions despite his emotionless delivery. But I will say this, if you are only seeing this movie because it stars Ryan Gosling, then be warned. This is nothing like any film you've seen before. There are some really picturesque shots in this film. You could pause at almost any instant and it would look like a painting you can hang up somewhere. There are very long scenes that drag out for what feels like forever, but I at least thought they were better than the agonizing "Valhalla Rising" film as a whole. Some scenes are very weird and will put a lot of people off. There is a scene involving Goslings characters dead mother that will surely make anyone cringe. Many people who don't have open minds about films will trash this film, and walk out on it. But that doesn't make it a bad film at all. This isn't for everybody thats for sure. That's the beauty of it. I also need to mention the soundtrack. The music features more of the 80s influenced synths from "Drive". Cliff Martinez who did the score for "Drive" and helped with the soundtrack is back scoring this film. While the score for "Drive" was nice, most people only remember the catchy pop/electronic songs featured the movie. However his score for this movie is better in my opinion. Though the soundtrack doesn't feature catchy 80s style pop songs, the score is more memorable and sorta reminds me of Daft Punks score for "Tron: Legacy". There are even parts of the soundtrack that sound similar to "The Shining". It really does sound great with the scenery and contrasts the violence. Oh the violence. If you have a weak stomach then be prepared. Remember the head stomping elevator scene from "Drive"? The violence makes that scene look PG. The violence along with some of the trippy visuals really make the film very disturbing at times. The violence is also one thing people are criticizing. I can't defend the violence, but I will tell you that the scenery in every scene is gorgeous. Oh and speaking of "The Shining" there are hallway scenes that remind me of Kubricks filming style! I think that we could give this movie time to be liked. I just wish I could have seen the reaction from many movie goers if this movie had a wide release in the US. I think as this movie finds a release on Blu Ray/DVD that the ratings will slowly go up. Maybe there will even be an extended directors cut. This movie will probably become a cult classic in years to come. The low score here will go up into at least a 7/10 I hope. The low scores on other prominent movie sites will most likely go up too as people start to open there minds for this film and stop comparing it to "Drive". But if you don't like different, weird, violent, trippy movies, then I can't recommend this to you. Otherwise, be prepared for some crazy weird scenes!
Nicolas Winding Refn's newest film is a biblical epic reminiscent of the Old Testament set in modern Bangkok, Thailand. It roots as traditional Crime Thriller that journeys into a story of wrath, vengeance and chaos when clashing two Muay Thai 'warriors' into a climatic western showdown.The film is almost empty of any dialogue but is full of religious metaphors and sexual symbolism. Cliff Martinez perfectly blends eastern-oriental and deep electronic sounds into the amazing score. The sound of loud church organs heightens the intensity and really makes it feel like religious icons <more>
are present. Every frame and every scene is executed beautifully and the Once Upon a Time in the West-like pace just made it that much more intense.The film holds a set of ruthless and extreme 'heightened reality' characters which provide the biggest impact in the overall experience of the film. We see men insanely murder innocents, lash out with rage and attempt to restore balance through interesting uses of sharp objects. In her own extreme, Crystal played by Kristin Scott Thomas is very explicit in her words and also provides most of the dialogue. Her performance is unrelenting and may be the audience's favourite.This is a very very intense violent film which had me on the edge of my seat. Like the title suggests it is a film about redemption and spiritual relief within the protagonist and the world around him. I was very much relieved and satisfied by the time the film ended. It does test the audience's limits and offer both a thought provoking and immersive experience and may be Nicolas Winding Refn's most well crafted and artistic work yet.Score: 10/10
It's a shame that people seem to be missing the point behind this film. However, on one's first sitting, it's easily done - Refn's style and pace may fool you into thinking this is a dull, slow film. The long, seemingly unending shots of actors staring into the distance may make you question Mat Newman's the editor talent. But what you really need to do is to look deeper into the film, because behind the extreme violence, the beautiful cinematography & production design and questionable reality, there is an interesting message. That message really depends on how you <more>
interpret the film, and differentiates from person to person.For instance, Vithaya Pansringarm's character can be perceived in a variety of ways - a silent angel out to balance the injustices of his city, a delusional man who thinks of himself as God, or a vengeful cop who is simply out to do his job. Ryan Gosling's Julian can be seen as a confused soul who is out to avenge someone he clearly despised, someone who is bullied into action by his persuasive mother. Kristen Scott Thomas's excellent portrayal of Crystal, Julian's thoroughly unpleasant mother, acts as a wedge between the two of them. And the motives of each of these characters are questionable throughout.It's certain that Refn's ninth feature film is not a simple crime drama as you might have expected. Its twists and turns will almost certainly surprise you, and it will linger on your mind long after the credits roll. It makes you question what was real and what was not in a way I've never seen in cinema before. And it really is a shame that a lot of people seem to completely miss the brilliance and genius behind it.
Nicolas Winding Refn's new feature, Only God Forgives is a good film, his best offering I've seen so far. This is not only style over substance, but like Spring Breakers also style as substance. A grim mood is created through long stretches of brooding red lights reflected on faces, while the violent outbursts seem to be discharges of visually overcharged surroundings, with electricity built up after long silences with lots of eye candy, stylized framing and an exciting electronic/ambient score by Cliff Martinez. All of this underlines the desires, motivations, and emotional <more>
experiences of a bunch of messed up characters. So you could say that, the mood and the meaning are meant to be "the residue" of the style, just as Korine explained his intention for Spring Breakers. This is why both films are not empty stylistic offerings, but resonate on a deep affective level. And, because a non-narrative substance can be incorporated into the style, to pursue the ideal of style over narrative substance is not superficial per se. What is also positive, is that unlike Drive and Bronson , the narrative substance that remains is not messy per se, just lightweight. Although the story is quite simple and pure in execution, it is certainly strange, abstract, and a little drawn out. Especially the beginning relies mostly on mood, leaving little time for traditional story-telling. This worked for me, but I can understand that many others find it tedious. There is a lot of ambiguity, mostly having to do with the mysterious motivations behind Gosling's character. He has the same elation on his face as in Drive, but more perverted and strange this time. Apart from this there are a few abstract/absurd elements in the story: for instance, certain characters meet each other in paradoxical and inexplicable ways. But to me this was more a matter of deliberate ambiguity and mystery than messiness. The film is also extremely violent. Not constantly, more like a series of intense hits after long silences. This is not primarily used to entertain or bludgeon the viewer, but more to convey the moral conflict going on in Gosling's character. And the final scene may have felt completely weird and ridiculous to many people I heard much laughter in disbelief , but to me it made perfect sense, albeit in an absurd way, because it seemed to be the only resolution to the conflict going on in his mind. The song at the end just felt like the perfect continuation of the beautiful absurdity just before it.
Only God Forgives is undeniably Refn's least accessible film, but for those able to see beyond its rough surface are in for a visceral experience like no other. (by thejoshl)
In Nicolas Winding Refn's highly anticipated follow-up to Drive, he delves into themes of morality, spirituality, perversion and religion obviously in the most stylistically explosive piece of art to hit theatres this year. Only God Forgives is a brilliant visceral experience that surely will be talked about for years.A description of the plot doesn't do this movie justice, Only God Forgives really isn't about the physical story it's about the feeling Refn strategically places in your gut. Regardless the story revolves around Julian Ryan Gosling , co-owner of a Thai boxing <more>
club in Bangkok that he uses to launder drug money with his brother Billy Tom Burke . Both very strangely violent men, one night Billy decides to let his urges control him and murders a girl. Cue police officer Chang Vithaya Pansringarm who takes it upon himself to punish Billy for his actions. A distressed Julian doesn't know how to handle the situation and matters get worse when his mother Kristin Scott Thomas flies into town to deal with the death of her first son.Ultimately the story is about a man who thinks he's God Officer Chang clashing forces with a man on a spiritual journey of self-discovery, avoiding violent behavior and questioning his morality, and the morality of those around him. This "clash of forces" is quite literal, making the words "Wanna fight?" not only the most dramatic in the film but also the most symbolic. Winding Refn, since Bronson, has been fascinated in heightened reality and I think that change in style has improved his films significantly. This sort of fairytale-protagonist-on-a-path-of self-evaluation-gets-mixed-up-in-the-wrong-crowd kind of thing, you know?Though the film has a very clear plot-line, the pacing and imagery, violent/non-violent aren't what you would expect. It's strangely ambiguous and wonderfully subtle. Only God Forgives is as much a standard "action thriller" as Drive was a Fast and Furious rip-off; as too say all the elements are there, but that's it. Don't get me wrong, there is action in this film and it definitely earned its R-rating in violence alone but as Nicolas Winding Refn has said himself, it's about the "mental action" rather than the physical action. There are lots of shots of people looking at one another and thinking, and not having them express their thoughts verbally adds a new level of interpretation to the film; one I wildly enjoyed.The performances are fresh and entertaining. Gosling is stiff however he does emote quite well, his unique talent of being able to hold a straight face and yet let subtle ticks and twitches give away his feelings works really well with Refn's directing and its obvious why they like working together. With approximately 8 lines of dialogue I was never confused as to what Julian's motives were. Vithaya Pansringarm and Yayaying Rhatha Phongam both deliver subtle performances as well Vithaya accomplishing a very menacing physicality and all the while delivering just a few more lines than Gosling. Kristin Scott Thomas brings in the most words per screen time, and boy are they cruel! If you've ever wondered what it's like to hear Thomas call some poor girl a "cum dumpster" this is the movie for you! Her performance is arguably the strongest but also one of the more irritating as well. I give her plenty of credit though I'm sure it's difficult to work off silence, which she does throughout the entire movie.No matter how you feel about the acting or plot, even the negative reviews have to admit how beautiful this film looks and sounds. Refn has always been known to have gorgeous cinematography and a very unique vision for his scenes. While I found the sound effects to be a little lack-luster compared to the rest of the film the soundtrack is stunning. Only God Forgives orally borders the line between thriller and horror, which in turn sets the tone of the movie quite nicely. Cliff Martinez continues his streak of brilliance; following Spring Breakers with this striking electronic score that can only be described as haunting.If you know anything about Refn you know he's afraid to do the same thing twice, so in order to ensure he wasn't duplicating Drive which he originally planned to do AFTER Only God Forgives he made this film as tonally different as possible. Some consider it a downfall of his, sticking with the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" motto however I personally consider it personal innovation – which is never a bad thing, Tarantino does it all the time. Something a lot of directors should practice. I think after winning the Palme d'Or at Cannes Film Festival with Drive people were expecting Only God Forgives to be somewhat similar, especially considering it featured the same lead as our non-verbal protagonist; this my friends is the base of all the hatred and misunderstanding towards the film. Maintaining a 3.5/10 average from critics is absolute nonsense, and I'm ashamed of the audience at Cannes that booed this film with the filmmakers in the room.Every frame handled with sheer artistic precision Only God Forgives is undeniably Refn's least accessible film, but for those able to see beyond its rough surface are in for a visceral experience like no other.Our Rating: 9.0/10Let me know on Twitter @thejoshl what you thought of Only God Forgives!
If you love cinema, you'll love this - 8/10 (by yaldish)
I do understand why people hate it, that also means that I understand why people love it because I am one of them.This movie was shot by cinematographer Larry Smith who also worked with Kubrick on 'Eyes wide shut', he made an extraordinary job shooting this picture because it was mesmerizing and beautiful to watch from the beginning to the end. It was also an amazing movie experience, it's one of those movies that you just give yourself over to. If you are a fan of movies and a fan of Nicolas Winding Refn then I think you will absolutely love this. I read that a lot of people are <more>
complaining about this movie being thin on story and whatnot, well, let me put it like this; if Refn wanted a "story" he would give it a "story". He doesn't have anything to prove on that point because he already showed us that he can do it if he wants to, and I think once you let go of that then it will be a lot more easier to enjoy and experience this movie because it is a movie that is based on ideas which is clearly what Nicolas Winding Refn is focusing on rather than having a moving plot or story.The atmosphere in this movie was really something, it was almost as if you were a part of it thanks to this movie being very slow paced, and that's why I've always been a big fan of slow-paced movies. "Chang", who is "God", was so coldblooded that even I as a viewer felt that it will be impossible for "Julian" to actually try to kill him - and then that last fighting sequence came. All the actors did a very good job and gave convincing performances, meaning that they didn't have to do more than what was already in the film. And I loved the fact that our protagonist got beaten down to a point where we couldn't see his normal face, and I liked the relationship that Julian Ryan Gosling and Crystal had Kristen Thomas because I could feel that strange mother-to-son love type of relationship even though it was very tense, that probably has to do with good chemistry between the two actors. This movie also had very good soundtracks which added another great layer to it. I guess if David Lynch were to make an extremely violent movie, I think it would look something like this, there were indeed some Lynch-moments in there and some Kubrick shots which I absolutely loved. As much as this movie made me cringe I could not stop enjoying it, it was all in a positive way. I think Refn at one point called this a Thai-western about a man who is fighting against god, and I couldn't stop thinking about that whilst I was watching it because that's exactly what it is.People can trash this movie all they want, we even had two people walking out of the theater. But the fact that some critics gave it a 100/100 and others gave it below 50/100 should tell you a lot. But at the end of the day, I think if you really want to know what you think of this film, you will have to go and see it for yourself.
Those giving this movie 1/10 are saying far more about their own absolute ignorance of film and extreme immaturity than they are about this movie. I don't expect everyone to like this film - it is certainly not for fans of Hollywood blockbusters and those who start their reviews with statements similar to 'I went to see this movie because I like Ryan Gosling/Kristin Scott Thomas' render all further comments null and void - their opinions are simply worthless and cannot be taken seriously.The cinematography is excellent and the acting superb. Those complaining of Gosling's lack <more>
of animation are completely missing the point that his character is empty and completely subjugated beneath the force of his mother. This movie is full of symbolism, psychology and philosophy and every shot and sequence masterfully executes the portrayal and exploration of these themes. Distinct allusions to David Lynch are apparent but these do not come off as derivative but rather as homage. If you like Hollywood blockbusters or Rom-Coms stay away from this movie and don't bother deriding this movie due to your own lack of mature and critical thinking. On the other hand, if you appreciate excellent cinematography and exploring deeper themes of the unconscious, however dark they may be, do not be put off by the extremism of those giving this movie 1/10 and go and decide for yourself.
Depending on what you look for in a film you could either consider to be an artwork or a let down (by dme3-624-956960)
I went into the movie theater looking forward to this film. Expecting something along the likes of Drive, which was a great cinematic experience in my opinion, I got to see something which had similarities in execution and style but turned out to be a very different movie from the latter. Without saying too much I will say that this will be one of the weirdest movie experiences you will ever get. It has the same type of artwork that made Drive such a great accomplishment but it takes it a little further. This is done to a point where you can either choose to relate to its ruthlessness and <more>
brutality it is an extremely violent film or discard it for it. The setting and scenes are played out beautifully but the pacing feels off as it builds up really slow and never gains pace throughout the showing. At times you feel like you are witnessing scenes from a wonderfully shot masterpiece, yet the next moment it can be as if these scenes add up to nothing substantial. To me it feels as if the director has been overly ambitious and at particular moments he managed to make it work but overall it doesn't hit home. It tries so hard to be memorable and refreshing that at times it turns into a parody of itself. This being said I still enjoyed it for what it was and though the brutality and violence won't be for anyone to be appreciated it gets very raunchy it's an experience I'm glad I did not miss out on. Some other people in the theater where less forgiving no pun intended and left it running for the exit. It's not as accessible as you would want it to be, and it's not as great as it feels it could have been but if you want to watch a film you won't be able to wrap your head around entirely for the next few days I'd say: give it a shot. You might find it worth your while. I certainly found it to be so. A decent piece of artwork or a let down? Depending on what you look for in a film you can only consider it to be one or the other.