Only God Forgives is the violent journey of an American boxing club owner in Thailand. In the short time frame within the film events circulate and spiral well beyond the protagonist’s control and at points you feel as lost as Ryan Gosling is in one of his dream sequences. The film delivers fantastically on an artist level; the brilliant shots crafted by director Nicola Winding Refn (Who worked with Gosling on Drive) truly captivate an infinite amount of beauty and depth in just a few seconds. However this film will not be what many expect, this is not another Drive and many of Gosling’s fans who only see him as a heart throb will fail to connect with the sheer intellectual weight of this film. Gosling himself delivers a performance nearly exact to that of his performance in Drive complete with the same maniacal expression that begs the question ‘what is wrong in this guy’s head?’. Kristin Scott Thomas however is fantastic and is truly a character you will love to hate. The main antagonist portrayed by Vithaya Pansringarm is almost comical with his karaoke sequences and simple expressions, however he will still strike fear into your heart.
Overall Only God Forgives should almost be not allowed a rating as it is truly how the viewer interprets and is hard to say whether it is good or not. The discussion created and the level of artistic depth warrants it a higher rating, that and the fine performance, but even with high brow artistic mentalism there is a common thread that everyone can grasp. This film seems to struggle with the latter.
Verdict 3/5 Stars- Don’t see this if you’re expecting Drive 2. This is a film that will probably be heralded in higher regard in many years to come.