Movie Review #442: Only God Forgives

This movie is not for me

Julian (Ryan Gosling), a respected figure in the criminal underworld of Bangkok, runs a Thai boxing club and smuggling ring with his brother Billy. Billy is suddenly murdered and their crime lord matriarch, Crystal (Kristin Scott Thomas) arrives from London to bring back the body. When Jenna forces Julian to settle the score with his brother’s killers, Julian finds himself in the ultimate showdown. (c) Radius

Despite clocking in at 90 minutes, Nicolas Winding Refn’s Only God Forgives still feels 80 minutes too long. It doesn’t even matter if it’s ultraviolent or immoral, the film just doesn’t warrant a screen time that lengthy with its narrative voidness. I understand that it’s was Refn’s intention to make it super slow-paced, visceral, and visually astounding but he overcompensates those qualities. He also leaves subtle messages and themes for cinephiles to devour on at the expense of a straightforward telling of a story and its purpose. He abandons any sign of directness, and forgets about building any emotional connection between the audience and the film’s characters. I’m not blind to the idea that some people will get more out of this film, but it provides too little for me to chew on and appreciate for it to deserve some extra attention.


P.S. If you try to watch the film at 1.5x the normal speed, it’s still too slow.


One thought on “Movie Review #442: Only God Forgives

  1. Yes! I concur heartily. I was looking forward to this one but left the cinema disappointed, to say the least. Yes, it looks great but so what if you have to hold your eyes open with matchsticks because it’s so deadly dull?

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