Only God Forgives // Film Review


“You can’t round killing cops anymore”

From the very moment I read about Nicolas Wingding Refn’s latest film, Only God Forgives, receiving very mixed reviews at Cannes I have been relishing the chance to get to develop my own opinion, especially after loving Drive so much I couldn’t see how this could go wrong… This oddball however, turned out to be a mostly unwatchable cinematic experiment fronted by a rather glum-looking Ryan Gosling.

I say ‘mostly unwatchable’; and this is the strange thing about Only God Forgives, because I was all but ready to leave the screen on about three or four occasions but every time I got this feeling I was bizarrely drawn back to just see what happened next. I can’t put my finger on exactly what made me want to keep coming back and staying until the end but I think it was just because I expected something to seriously go down in the closing moments to redeem the whole art-piece.

On a cinematic level it was beautiful to admire and in a strange way would have suited being some sort of art-installment at the Tate Modern or something. The kind of thing you’ll walk into the booth and catch a couple of minutes of and think ‘oh yes… that’s very pretty’ then move onto a canvas splattered with shit and semen and think the same thing.

The story however, is dull. It bores me to think about it and is just weird on a whole new scale. It wasn’t the blood-fest people billed it to be (not that that’s what I was looking for at all) but it didn’t really include any scenes of real worth and because of this it struggled to grasp anyone’s real attention.

It was over-weighed and toppled under the weight of the iconography of the hands and the long lasting static shots and everything being so fucking stylised with no substance that it became lacklustre and nothing seemed new or ‘wow’ after the first 10-minutes (on the aesthetic side) – Nothing story-wise interested me in the slightest and the western thriller style narrative was one of the most dull experiences in my cinema journey this year… and I’ve seen GI Joe 2.

Unless you really know what you’re getting into… don’t waste your time with Refn’s latest outing. Watch the trailer… I think all the dialogue is in that. The soundtrack (as with Drive) is strong though… download that.


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