movie film review | chris tookey

Only God Forgives

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  Only God Forgives Review
Tookey's Rating
1 /10
Average Rating
5.40 /10
Ryan Gosling , Kristin Scott Thomas, Vithaya Pansringarm
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Directed by: Nicolas Winding Refn
Written by: Nicolas Winding Refn

Released: 2013
Genre: DRAMA
Origin: US
Colour: C
Length: 89

Reviewed by Chris Tookey

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Danish director Nicholas Winding Refn made a stylish if violent thriller in Drive, which helped cement Ryan Goslingís reputation as a leading man.

Refnís second movie with the same star was booed at the Cannes Film Festival, and inspired many walk-outs. No wonder. Itís one of the slowest, most pretentious art-house ordeals of all time: long stretches of elegantly photographed inertia, interspersed with random acts of extreme, stomach-turning savagery.

Such story as there is concerns an American drug-dealer (Gosling, pictured) with no qualms about selling heroin and cocaine, who is urged by his foul-mouthed Lady Macbeth of a mother (Kristin Scott Thomas in leopard-skin) to avenge the murder of his paedophile rapist elder brother (Tom Burke) by a retired Thai cop (Vithaya Pansringarm).

There is no tragic dimension to any of this - or human interest, since all the characters come across as unfeeling automata moved around on directorial whim.

If unwisely you stay until the end, youíll have seen eyes, ears, legs, arms and hands impaled in unflinching close-up, limbs amputated, various people carved up, and a young man sticking his hands into the sliced-open abdomen of his mother.

Thereís none of the humanity or story-telling flair that redeemed the brutality of Drive, and Gosling is so superficial, blank-faced and laconic that heís never interesting, let alone someone you could possibly care about.

The revelling in violence, murder and torture is blatantly imitative of the two antisocial directors Refn has publicly cited as influences: Alejandro Jodorowsky (Santa Sangre) and Gasper Noe (Irreversible).

Refn would doubtless claim his work is amoral; most people will recognize it immediately as sadistic, voyeuristic and immoral.

If Refn has a purpose, which I doubt, he completely fails to express it. If thereís a nastier and more disgusting film this year, I shall be unpleasantly surprised.

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