The Tomatometer rating – based on the published opinions of hundreds of film and television critics – is a trusted measurement of movie and TV programming quality for millions of moviegoers. It represents the percentage of professional critic reviews that are positive for a given film or television show.
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The Tomatometer is 60% or higher.
The Tomatometer is 59% or lower.
Movies and TV shows are Certified Fresh with a steady Tomatometer of 75% or higher after a set amount of reviews (80 for wide-release movies, 40 for limited-release movies, 20 for TV shows), including 5 reviews from Top Critics.
Percentage of users who rate a movie or TV show positively.
That it is superficial is a given. It's clear that Refn's plan is to drug us into transcendence, into the eerie plains of his Norse parable Valhalla Rising. He wants this film to levitate, but it doesn't.
Only God Forgives delivers what we might have thought we wanted but with diminishing returns: Refn's trademark visual style is indulged to a dizzying degree but is unmoored, lacking any kind of satisfying or coherent narrative throughline.
Drive, and many of Refn's other films, were thrillingly kinetic; here, by gluing his actors to their spots, he gives us beautiful images but nothing to watch. About halfway through, there is a brief foot chase. At least it moves.
Simply, without a brand name like Refn's at the helm, there's no way this project would be In Competition at Cannes, nor would it have attracted its talented stars, nor even found its way out of your local bargain bin.
As significant to Refn's previous successes the technical achievements are, they alone do not make a movie. You need something to hang your hat on, more tangible than light and sound and that vague feeling of cool.