HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Human Voice, The
Guns Akimbo
Being a Human Person
Giants and Toys
Millionaires Express
Bringing Up Baby
World to Come, The
Air Conditioner
Fear and Loathing in Aspen
Kandisha
Riders of Justice
Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Maki, The
For Those Who Think Young
Justice League: War
Fuzzy Pink Nightgown, The
Plurality
Scooby-Doo! Moon Monster Madness
Night of the Sharks
Werewolves Within
Honeymoon
King and Four Queens, The
Stray Dolls
Diana's Wedding
Deerskin
Toll, The
Two of Us
Nowhere Special
Rainbow Jacket, The
Crazy Samurai: 400 vs 1
First Cow
Undiscovered Tomb
Being Frank
Occupation: Rainfall
Jeanette: The Childhood of Joan of Arc
Pariah
Weapon, The
Godzilla vs. Kong
Love and Monsters
Tove
Young Wives' Tale
   
 
Newest Articles
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
More Than Mad Science: Karloff at Columbia on Blu-ray
Indian Summer: The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-ray
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
   
 
  Only God Forgives Might Be Better High
Year: 2013
Director: Nicolas Winding Refn
Stars: Ryan Gosling, Kristin Scott Thomas, Vithaya Pansringarm, Gordon Brown, Yayaying Rhatha Phongam, Tom Burke, Sahajak Boonthanakit, Pitchawat Petchayahon, Charlie Ruedpokanon, Kowit Wattanakul, Wannisa Peungpa, Narucha Chaimareung, Danai Thiengdham
Genre: Horror, DramaBuy from Amazon
Rating:  3 (from 1 vote)
Review: In the criminal underworld of Bangkok American expat Julian (Ryan Gosling) makes a living somewhere near the top of the tree, running kickboxing matches and making a tidy profit from that as well as the drugs money he rakes in from his other interests. But he has a brother who is far less in control, Billy (Tom Burke), who tonight after attending a match goes looking for a prostitute, ending up at a club where he has his pick of a collection of women, though he asks for the owner's daughter instead. That doesn't go down well, and neither does his subsequent rampage when he smashes a bottle over the owner and drags away one of the prostitutes...

After Nicolas Winding Refn and Ryan Gosling teamed up for the cult hit Drive, with all its affected cool and detachment occasionally bursting into life in brutal violence, you would have thought they could do no wrong when they reteamed for Only God Forgives, which was the wacky comedy version of that previous film. Well, not really comedy, but by this point there was already a strong flavour of self-parody emerging in their collaboration as this hit all the beats Drive had done but with far less appeal; maybe it was the lack of car chases, maybe it was the different location, maybe it was down to Refn having something spiritual to say through a simple gangster tale, but fewer embraced this.

According to the director's soundbite quote on his movie, Drive had been the equivalent of experiencing high quality cocaine, so this was its counterpart, like taking excellent acid. There was a problem in a nutshell, that supposed cool disappearing into purest self-indulgence, so far that it meant very little except to the Refn and Gosling diehards, though even some of them were let down here. Coming on like a simple revenge yarn as Julian feels he has to seek vengeance when Billy is murdered, the complications ensue when it turns out the brother was killed in return for raping and slaughtering a sixteen-year-old girl, which makes Julian side with a complete lowlife.

Cue moral dilemma, but the retired police inspector Chang (Vithaya Pansringarm) brought in to investigate was apparently intended as a figure of reckoning, no less than God Almighty Himself. If that sounds high-falutin', it might have offered food for (obscure) thought but with every scene approached the same way the effect was less the Alejandro Jodorowsky tribute as indicated by the dedication in the end credits, and more a slavish imitation of the worst excesses of Gaspar Noe, who by no coincidence is also thanked at the end. The whole notion that the only message worth listening to is one backed by force, aggression and violence was a pernicious one which was only bolstered by Refn's efforts here, suggesting if he was sincere about the theology, he was barking up the wrong tree.

Julian believes he can make amends with his tortured soul by taking on Chang, i.e. God, and if not winning at least achieving a draw, an ambition which at least gives rise to a spot of humour in the martial arts showdown, though you'd be hard pressed to find laughs or any self-awareness otherwise. That was unless we were supposed to find a foulmouthed Kristin Scott Thomas amusing as she played Julian's mother, showing up in Bangkok to ensure her son bumps off those responsible for Billy's death and suggesting a few problems with women if she was the film's idea of a strong female, with the sole other one of note another prostitute, Mai (Thai singer Yayaying Rhatha Phongam) who has the privilege of masturbating for the camera and being bullied by Julian and his mother. You could point to the oppressive atmosphere, with its sleek photography and Cliff Martinez's score, as a success in itself, but as it sought to appeal the drug-fuelled poseurs of this world Only God Forgives illustrated too many deadening flaws in its modern, redundant, rogue warrior posturing.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1772 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
   

 

Last Updated: