ONLY GOD FORGIVES

BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELL
JULY 24, 2013

Unflinching. Charismatic. Surreal. Nicolas Winding Refn’s follow-up to “Drive” re-teams Refn with Ryan Gosling for “Only God Forgives,” a self-described neon fairy tale of heightened reality. The screenplay unfolds like a Shakespearean tragedy, with Gosling playing Julian, a brother seeking revenge on his older brother’s killers in Bangkok, all by his overbearing and uber sexual mother (Kristin Scott Thomas). Although the dialogue is sparse and the opium-infused, fever dream-nature of the film is alienating to most audiences, Ryan Gosling is a force to be reckoned with in any capacity. Filling every scene he’s in with the best acted, most precise performance, he never fails to grab your complete attention.

Much like “Drive,” the violence gets a bit excessive. Still, following a very similar fashion to Korean cinema, Refn understands the dark nature of the material and produces gorgeous scene after gorgeous scene, helping create the tone from an expert pairing with composer Cliff Martinez. Also described as a modern Western, “Only God Forgives” may not compare to the vision of Refn’s “Drive,” despite many similarities. However, it still holds up on its own and produces an enigmatic showing from actor Ryan Gosling, proving yet again he’s not just a pretty face and could easily be one of the best actors out of our generation. With a style all his own and no remorse, I continue to look forward to what Refn produces next.

RELEASE DATE
July 19, 2013

DIRECTOR
Nicolas Winding Refn

WRITTEN BY
Nicolas Winding Refn

STUDIO
RADiUS-TWC

R
(for strong bloody violence including grisly images, sexual content and language)

ACTION
CRIME
DRAMA

90 minutes

CINEMATOGRAPHER
Larry Smith

COMPOSER
Cliff Martinez

EDITOR
Matthew Newman

CAST
Ryan Gosling
Kristin Scott Thomas
Vithaya Pansringarm
Rhatha Phongam
Gordon Brown
Tom Burke

PRODUCED BY
Lene Børglum
Sidonie Dumas
Vincent Maraval

BUDGET
$4.8 million

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