Release Date
July 19, 2013
Nicolas Winding Refn
Nicolas Winding Refn
Distributed By
$4.8 million
Crime, Drama
Rated R for strong bloody violence including grisly images, sexual content and language
90 minutes

Only God Forgives

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 the orders of 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, never failing to grab your complete attention.

Much like “Drive”, the violence gets a bit excessive, but following a very similar fashion to Korean cinema, Refn understands the dark nature of the material and produces gorgeous scene after gorgeous scene, with help creating 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, but 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.


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