Only God Forgives - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Only God Forgives Reviews

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December 4, 2016
A great and metaphoric film. Such a symbolic film deserves to be remembered forever
½ November 21, 2016
One of the most underrated movies ever made and I know that's controversial to say that.
November 5, 2016
Only God Forgives is visually stunning and criminally underappreciated.
October 30, 2016
Misunderstood film for its purposeful coldness. It's beauty enhances the film and doesn't get in the way of the subtle narrative. It seemed to not sit well with people because it didn't embody what they expected it to be as a follow up to Refn's Drive.
½ October 18, 2016
kind of fun, kind of crazy, but initially a partial movie of Refn. cinematography is so so, and the production is on par, but the story is lacking.
½ October 10, 2016
Lets me start by saying "WOW" because that's what I said after the movie was over. "Only God Forgives" is directed by Nicolas Winding Refn who recently directed the much better "Drive (2011)" and also stars Ryan Gosling. This is the most polarizing film I have ever seen. I said "Wow" cause at first I had no idea what to think of it but after the second viewing I really really liked this movie.
Let me try to explain the film the best I can cause the narrative isn't really straight forward. The movie is about a man named Julian (Ryan Gosling) and his brother Billy (Tom Burke) who run a fighting dojo in Bangkok. They are also a powerful family that deals drugs with the help of their mother Crystal (Kristin Scott Thomas). One night Billy goes off and commits violent acts which eventually leads to his death. Lt Chang (Vithaya Pansringarm) is a highly respected police officer who Crystal believes is Billy's killer. She then goes on this revenge path to find Lt Chang and kill him.
That is the best way I can summarize the film without really spoiling it. One thing I will mention is that the film is about vengeance from both Crystal and Lt Chang. Ryan Gosling who is the main character in this film is mostly on the sideline of things. He goes through this nightmarish journey that isn't all coherent but eventually he gets tied into the mess that's going on.
The characters in this film are entirely bad people, even Gosling's character. They have little emotion and focus on violence and revenge. Some might say they are all cardboard but I believe they are like that for a reason. Ryan Gosling plays a subdued character even more than in "Drive". He has only like 17 lines or so in the whole movie. It's hard to read into him but he is indeed a bad person. That being said, I think he is the most likable but that's probably cause he is Ryan Gosling. Another character in the film is LT Chang who views himself as a god. He is respected, violent, and fair. I say fair because he believes an eye for an eye he doesn't just kill people randomly. I think Vithaya Pansringarm played him very well. The last character that stands out is Crystal who is a bitch. I don't mean to be that blunt but that who she is. She is controlling and aggressive and believes she will get what she wants.
The visuals in the film are even better than in "Drive". It's so gorgeous under neon lights and it's beautifully well shot angles. There are many scenes where Jullian is having these dreamlike visons and that's where the visuals really pop out. I said before I am a sucker for visuals and this is no exception. I am loving the look of this film.
Another thing that sticks out of this film is the violence. Refn has been known to make violent films but this film is over the top. Its enough to get people to turn it off or run away. There is something very disturbing about its violent contant that I cant quite put my finger on it. Lets just say its very gory, dark, and disturbing.
So whats my final thoughts for this film? It's great and I loved it. The thing is not everyone will see it like I do. Your either gonna love it or hate it. What I see in this film is that it's a portrait of violence and revenge. It keeps its characters dark because that's what its about. It's a nightmare and its hard to find anything good in a nightmare and that's what it shows. I love Refn's direction and boldness and the ability to create something original. Just remember that when you go into this movie remind yourself this is not "Drive", otherwise your gonna hate it.
October 9, 2016
Only God Forgives is an extremely uncommon movie directed with an extremely uncommon style.
The sequences and the shots are very long and even the smllest movement is over-emphasized.
All this makes this story about Bangkok's drug life very stylish.
September 17, 2016
Cliff Martinez's scores keep Refn in the biz. This was pretentious Freudian trash.
Good lighting though.
September 11, 2016
A placeholder rating. A second viewing is necessary.
August 28, 2016
stylish and beautiful cinematography does not make this an easy film to watch characters are bland including the normally brilliant Ryan Gosling and a dull slow script make this sadly boring.
½ August 27, 2016
Very violent drama about two brothers living in Bangkok who are living their lives in the corrupt world of drugs and prostitution. When one of the brothers is involved with the killing of a prostitute all hell breaks loose literally.
August 26, 2016
Beautifully (deceptively) quiet, shockingly violent, ultimately captivating. Can't remember when last I felt the director's presence so much (in a good way) in a movie. Still, a lot of it is style over substance. Never got emotionally involved with the characters or carried away with the plot.
Like the girls in the club, I had to close my eyes when the violence got too bloody.
½ August 22, 2016
it is beatifully shot and has a really great soundtrack by cliff martinez and i an a huge nicolas winding refn fan the movie feels a litle to boring for my taste
August 18, 2016
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½ August 8, 2016
"Want to fight?"

The whole time I was thinking, Nicolas Winding Refn could make a perfect Mortal Kombat movie, if only he new how to pick up the pace a little.

Only God Forgives is an almost fantasy-like tale, set in Bangkok, of the criminal underground system that dwells within. When Julian's (Ryan Gosling) brother is killed, he must deal with the consequences in any means possible.

Only God Forgives is a bizarre one for me. I've been wanting to watch this for bloody ages. You apparently either Love this film or Hate it's guts. I like to think I'm in somewhat of a middle ground leaning towards affection.

The good? Only God Forgives is an aesthetically pleasing affair. There is no denying that Refn has a keen visual eye as demonstrated in Drive. The acting for the most part is decent, especially from Vithaya Pansringarm, who plays the character Chang. His presence with ominous and tremendously effective. The Gore was also relevant to the overall story I thought, added a lot to it's narration on God versus the Devil and how sex, family and crime add to the skewedness of a murder case. The most impressive part of Only God Forgives is definitely how it embraces it's Asian mythology in a sense, the unconventionality suited it's deep-rooted tradition and respect for combat as reflected in oriental culture from Thailand. This is a fimmakers handbook, I respect that wholy.

The bad? Nicolas Winding Refn, I loved Drive, but this film is reluctant in some aspects. You do not need to hold the shot for too long, we understand the visual metaphor but when you hold it for ages it comes of anile, tedious and pretentious. The pace is comparative to watching your grandparents use a computer for the first time. Also, Ryan Gosling is absolutely wasted here. Sure, he has a couple moments to demonstrate his majesty in violence, but it feels like he's in so little of this movie that there is nothing worth making him part of this picture. It dragged what could've been a tight and dynamic thriller/horror showcase on Thai culture, but it's dragginess and waste of possibility whacks this movie across the head.

All in all, Only God Forgives is worth studying, it's a shiftingly entertaining piece with some great religious and spiritualistic comments to make, but Refn over milks it with no apology. It can come across as brave to some, but for me, it mostly came across as pompous. Slightly. Otherwise, give Only God Forgives some love, it's not worthy of it's critical hate. However it's neither worthy of the 'masterpiece' honour. It's just....marginally beyond adequate.

I have booked a ticket for the premiere of Refn's next film, 'The Neon Demon' showing next Wednesday and for definite this movie got me wondering what else he has in store. That is, if I pass for an 18 year old!


½ August 2, 2016
This movie is slow and uninteresting a waste of time I've seen Mimes say more dialog than Ryan's Character
July 27, 2016
Ryan Gosling (just about) stars in 'Only God Forgives', which whilst being a visual treat for your eyes, is simply too abstract and too bizarre for its own good. However, the movie is so beautiful to look at, you can't help but marvel at its craftsmanship.
½ July 26, 2016
Incredibly slow and self-indulgent, no arguing there. And yet, there remains something profoundly enticing in Refn's hypnotic style that makes me eagerly anticipate the day he backs it with a properly engaging narrative. Plus, Ryan Gosling is all kinds of hilarious in this one.
July 24, 2016
Visually this movie is a master piece and Gosling performance is excellent, alas I cannot say the plot stand by its own, also it's filled with some unnecessary violence.
July 21, 2016
"Only God Forgives", também conhecido como "Decepção pós Drive". Chato, arrastado, pretencioso... Tem uma que outra cena massa, uma fotografia bonita e só. Totalmente pointless.
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