Only God Forgives is the latest film from Drive and Bronson director, Nicolas Winding Refn. Ryan Gosling’s character, Julian lives in Bangkok with his brother and they are drug smugglers. After his brother is murdered, his drug kingpin mother sends Julian to seek out the killer.
Only God Forgives is one of those movies where after you watch it, you will ask yourself, “what did I just watch?” This film is very different and has a very small target audience. Refn has a unique directing style and that’s what I love about him. He isn’t afraid to take risks and creates beautiful and stylized films. Only God Forgives wasn’t Refn’s best films but if you are a fan of his work, it is worth checking out.
Most of Refn’s films use visuals and music to create a story. I wouldn’t be surprised if his next feature was a silent film but I can only hope. He had a large amounts color in his palette and used them to produce stunning images. Refn particularly used bright neon colors to represent the atmosphere of Bangkok. Refn is known for having extreme, stylized violence in his films. There were a few scenes that depicted some grisly images, so beware if you can’t stomach it. Cliff Martinez previously worked with Refn and composed the score to Drive. Martinez created an eerily yet beautiful score to complement Refn’s images.
I wish I could say I loved Ryan Gosling’s performance but Refn didn’t give him much to do. Like Drive, Gosling can be seen staring into space and you are stuck wondering what he is thinking. His character didn’t show much emotion after his brother died but then again, he may have been in a state of shock. I admire the fact the Gosling is taking on roles for low budget movies and gives small time directors a bigger name in Hollywood.
Kristin Scott Thomas (The English Patient, Mission: Impossible) and Vithaya Pansringarm were very impressive in their roles. Thomas played Julian’s mother and acted like a stuck up Beverly Hills woman. It was a role that I have never seen her in and it was refreshing to see her shine in this film. Pansringarm is a somewhat unknown and played the police detective who was the behind the murder of Julians brother. He built tension in almost all of his scenes and you knew nothing good was going to happen when he appeared on scene.
Only God Forgive definitely isn’t for everyone. I would probably recommend it to all Refn fans and movie enthusiasts. It is a very slow moving film and can be tough for some to get through. This isn’t Refn’s best but definitely one of his most gorgeous films. You can now watch it by using Video On Demand.