Only God Forgives (2013)


Listen, I wasn’t all that into Drive. It just wasn’t for me. I thought it was boring and as much as I love Ryan Gosling (and love to look at him), I didn’t think he was especially great in it.

And I thought the same thing about Only God Forgives. Visually, enjoyable. There were some really beautifully shot scenes. It was incredibly violent which I’m always up for. But I swayed between feeling a bit tense, being incredibly bored, and rolling my eyes.

I reflected, I did some theory reading. Sure, there’s some somewhat interesting symbolism (God/The Devil/the sinner) in there. There’s some incestuous/Oedipal (under)tones. But it just feels so empty. It feels like it’s trying so hard to make all of these capital-P points that it just ends up being nothing. All of these symbols and all of these metaphors – I mean, the colors, the spaces used, the dialogue – are just there. And that’s all.

A lot of people seem to be taking issue with the level of violence and vulgarity in Only God Forgives, but that really didn’t bother me. I like to think that I can appreciate a fair amount of artiness in movies but this movie just didn’t deliver. I prefer Drive to it but I still don’t like Drive. And frankly, I’d like to know what the direction is for Gosling. I think Refn just tells him to stare at things for as long as possible.

And I’m really pissed about how much of a let down this movie was because I watched this precise trailer for the movie earlier today and I was fucking prepped to be blown away. That minute and a half is so much better than the hour and a half long movie. I think a lot of that can be attributed to the song “2020” by Suuns, though.

* star