Only God Forgives Review

This is a bit of different post then normal but still fits into the lifestyle category of posts that I sometimes share with you. The first blog I ever set up was a movie review blog as I am a bit of film buff and do enjoy talking about films, so I have decided to share with you my views on the recent Nicholas Winding Refn movie "Only God Forgives". There were two reasons why I was so excited about this film, one because I am a huge Ryan Gosling fan not just because he is one of the most beautiful men to look at (sigh), but because I think he is a very talented versatile actor who has produced so many incredible films that go unnoticed. The second reason is because 'Drive' was my favourite film of 2011 and Nicholas Winding Refn is yet to direct a film that disappoints me.

There has been loads of uproar about this film being so brutal and a lot of talk about one particular scene, however the brutality is so stunningly shot that you can kind of forgive it. I'm not a person to shy away from brutal films anyway because, hello, we live in a world full of brutality most of us just choose to ignore it. However it is not the brutality in this film that made me enjoy it so much it is more to do with the fact that it is shot like a piece of art. Like 'Drive' Refn takes his time with his shots not rushing anything and letting you take in every inch of the scene, he uses a red and blue tone throughout apart from two poignant scenes and this use of colour helps to translate parts of the narrative that are not actually spoken. Also like 'Drive' it is not overcrowded with dialogue and this is another reason why I rate the director and actors so much, because he draws out the emotions and moves the narratives forward just through the expressions on the characters faces. To be able to make you feel empathy, hate, love for particular characters just through their expressions, I feel is a very difficult way of film making. Refn also relates the narrative to the some of the culture in the location of the film by embedding it with scenes of karaoke, with the use of lyrics being sung complimenting the storyline. This also brings me to the soundtrack, in this film like 'Drive' it helps to move the narrative forward and is just breathtaking. Cliff Martinez produces movie music like no one I have ever heard before gritty, emotional and a sound that is so unique to his style. However it's not all as magical as I am making it out to be.

I watched the film last night and would be lying if I said I didn't walk out of the cinema slightly disappointed. I think this was due to the fact that I love 'Drive' so much and the storyline within 'Drive'. 'Only God Forgives' lacks the slightly more complex narrative I was expecting. The narrative is simply what you see in the trailer with a few hidden ideas that are left up to your own interpretation, for example Gosling's constant looks at his hands and long scenes of touching (this will make more sense when you watch it). This also relates to two scenes that are overly lit, what I considered/believe are points of the narrative where god is meant to be present. Even though I was disappointed by the simple narrative I have not stopped thinking about this film since I watched it. I'm a big believer if it is all you can think about then it was a damn good film. I will however highlight a few things which will help you make the decision about whether to watch this film. If you didn't like 'Drive' don't watch it as it's not your kind of film, it's more stylistic then 'Drive' and not mainstream in any kind of way. If your offended by violence, also don't watch it it's not for the faint hearted. If the only two Ryan Gosling films you have seen are 'The Notebook' and 'Crazy, Stupid, Love' again not for you, it is not in ANY way a chick flick it's got more balls then that (I'm not saying I don't enjoy this films as these two are a guilty pleasure of mine, but do not in anyway do Gosling justice).

Now this brings me to my final paragraph which consists of a rant. Last night I went on twitter searching the hashtag #onlygodforgives to see other people views, as the film only came out on Thursday there wasn't many however one really bugged me. Someone had put 'Can't believe Gosling put his name to this'. I would just like to highlight that this person has obviously only ever seen the two films I mentioned above and there fore needs to go educate themselves on the not so mainstream films he has produced. The reason why Gosling is so brilliant in this film and why he has put his name to it, is because he doesn't in anyway typecast himself and he has also played a variety of shocking roles. If someone can go from playing a Jew who believes in Nazi ways to a teen who murders an autistic boy, followed by a high school teacher addicted to smack and then a lonely man in love with a blow up doll he obviously isn't playing roles to please people, he's playing roles to challenge us and that is exactly what his character does in 'Only God Forgives'. You can't decide if you love him or hate him and thats why this film is so clever. This film is not for everyone but if you want to see a visual pleasure from a movie director that I feel is slightly groundbreaking to create such an indie film that has hit mainstream cinemas, then give it a go and let me know what you think. Watch the trailer here.



  1. Great post!