Only God Forgives (2013)

Starring: Ryan Gosling, Kristin Scott Thomas, Vithaya Pansringarm, Ratha Phongam, Gordon Brown, Tom Burke

Plot: Julian, a drug-smuggler thriving in Bangkok's criminal underworld, sees his life get even more complicated when his mother compels him to find and kill whoever is responsible for his brother's recent death.

My Review and Thoughts:

First things first I want to be honest. I was never a Ryan Gosling fan. I've always thought he played the same character over and over again. He has such an emotionless structure, face, attitude, but after seeing him in the movie Drive, even though I do feel the movie Drive is a little overrated, he showed me something different from that movie.

So going into God Only Forgives which is made by the same director of Drive, I had high hopes. This is just like the movie Drive when it comes to scripted dialog and a slow-burn reality. There's very few interactions with the characters with dialogue. It's a slowburn type mentality to this film, just like Drive was. There was a lack of dialogue in Drive and was more about attitude and emotions through facial reactions and so, God Only Forgives is the same.

This is directed by a visionary talent that mixes art-house with style and classic touches of Film Noir. Nicolas Winding Refn is a flawless talent that has constructed an original thought provoking style of filmmaking. He mixes an artistic classic approach with the modern setting of a fiction story unfolding in images and camera work that seems almost dreamlike and yet with a nightmarish underbelly of violence and criminal acting.

From the beautiful haunting violent sadistic masterpiece Valhalla Rising to the indie art-house Drive and now a trip of original art in a style of a Bangkok Western.

Only God Forgives is a 2013 Danish-French crime film written and directed by Nicolas Winding Refn and it stands out as a truly original landmark of a film (or I should say for some, for those that truly understand this type of filmmaking).

Julian runs a muay thai club in Bangkok, Thailand. In reality he is a drug smuggler and the club is just a front. He has mommy issues. In reality mommy is the issue. His brother Billy is a sadist. Soon Billy steps over board and murder is involved and Billy is punished. Mommy becomes angry and intervenes and in away a cycle of violence and who has the bigger balls plays out. The right and wrong issue plays heavily and the idea of punishment hardcore style comes into play.

This stars an amazing actor Vithaya Pansringarm as Chang the sword carrying, karaoke singing police lieutenant and supplier of violent justice and keeper of the law threw his point of you. He is fantastic as the bad ass and a true character I will remember. 

This also stars Kristin Scott Thomas who plays Crystal, the mommy dearest. She is flawless in the perfect villain role. She is a true testament to bitch-hood in her performance. A priceless character.

This film has a complete style of memorable characters and attitude that will leave a lasting mark upon the viewer.

Now to understand Nicolas Winding Refn's point of film making is to see who he dedicates his art form to and that's non-other than the master extraordinaire and one-of-a-kind perfect, flawless, creative cinema god Alejandro Jodorowsky. If your a cinema geek, cinema lover, you should know this directors name. Alejandro Jodorowsky gave us such masterpieces as the mind-screws, El Topo, The Holy Mountain, Santa Sangra. 

There is none other like Alejandro Jodorowsky. He is a master art-house avant-garde creator of visions, dream states, confusion. Awesome techniques of exploring the inner recesses of cinema and truly creating unforgettable trips into insanity through visions laced with extraordinary images that only he could create for the viewer to be hold in his films.

You need look no further than truly landmark films then Alejandro Jodorowsky films. And so going into Only God Forgives you can see the visionary talent that is put into this film that has been created and dedicated to Alejandro Jodorowsky.

Only God Forgives is almost like a prequel or a somewhat sequel to Drive. They both have the mentality of the same violent artistic tale of an underworld. 

Gosling is a modern Brando/James Dean persona. He plays a stylish leading man in Drive and God Only Forgives. That silent Western Anti-hero coming into town. That macho rebel spark, filled with all the answers but no one to ask the questions. 

This is an atmospheric violent revenge tale. A crime thriller mixed with drama and a stylistic underground indie art-house avant-garde feel. It brings back the classics, yet is a true original eye-candy of a film that leaves a lasting impression on all those who view it.

This is Lynchian style of film making for the modern viewer and to the classic lovers of cinema that know the original masters like Alejandro Jodorowsky or Andrei Tarkovsky
or even the haunting beauty of Bergman it is there style woven with the new master. This is truly a film for true lovers of hardcore art-house style cinema that knows what this film is about and stands for.

A modern masterpiece. Highly recommended for those who understand this type of beautiful violent perfect surreal cinema.