‘Only God Forgives’ Review

Published 1 year ago by , Updated July 27th, 2013 at 12:24 pm,

Only God Forgives Reviews starring Ryan Gosling and Kristin Scott Thomas 2013 Only God Forgives Review

Only God Forgives transports us into the lavishly gruesome Thailand underworld, for a tale of death, dishonor, duty and justice. Youngest in his crime family, Julian (Ryan Gosling) finds his usual routine of sex, drugs and violence interrupted by the death of his brother, Billy (Tom Burke), a vicious psychopath. However, revenge  takes a sharp twist when Julian discovers that Billy’s execution was orchestrated by the infamously righteous lawman known as Chang (Vithaya Pansringarm). Julian knows to steer clear of the cop’s attention, but his ruthless crime boss mother, Crystal (Kristin Scott Thomas), has no such qualms.

Before long, Crystal’s machinations have started a series of events that ripple throughout the underworld, and set Chang on a unalterable course of retribution that not even God himself could stand in the way of.

The above synopsis of Only God Forgives may sound simple enough, but the truth is that it is only discernible from external reflection; you’d be lucky to get that much information pieced together while watching the film for the first time. Audiences who loved Drive and are hoping to see yet another stylistically-rich bending of the crime genre are going to be disappointed that Refn’s new film fails in almost every way that Drive succeeded – except in the area of rich visuals. Those who hated Drive are either going to feel even more put-off – or maybe just vindicated – by how obtuse and self-involved a film Refn has created here. 

Vithaya Pansringarm in Only God Forgives1 Only God Forgives Review

Vithaya Pansringarm in ‘Only God Forgives’

The filmmaker’s imagination is as gruesome as ever, but his eye for visual composition and mis-en-scene is also as keen as ever, and cinematographer Larry Smith (Bronson) makes Thailand look equal parts ethereal and lavishly hellish at the same time. But as gorgeous as the film’s world and imagery look, Refn’s frustratingly slow pacing and wildly uneven tone are very off-putting; this film is throttled by the eccentricities of its creator. There are probably dozens of films that Refn and Co. are drawing inspiration from, but the references and/or homages are so esoteric it’s hard to estimate the number of people who would actually get them.

Like in Drive, dialogue is sparse, and combined with some incredibly jarring editing by Refn’s longtime collaborator Matthew Newman (DriveBronson), it’s hard to even follow the logic of the film or understand much of the characterization. The tone is a constant mismatch of high-brow film art and low-brow grindhouse-style violence that never  coalesces into a discernible point. It’s everything arthouse haters mean when they talk about films that are “weird for the sake of being weird.”

Ryan Gosling in Only God Forgives1 Only God Forgives Review

Ryan Gosling in ‘Only God Forgives’

Ryan Gosling (seemingly the headliner) is just there, staring, most of the time; more blank slate than subtle expressionist. Vithaya Pansringarm is asked to do so many outlandishly violent (and weird) things that it takes awhile to even identify that he’s indeed on the side of law and order (Thai justice is very different, if this movie is any indication).

Really, the only heartbeat that the film gets (in between its weird and wacky meditative pauses) is that provided by Kristin Scott Thomas (The English PatientGosford Park) who is all but unrecognizable as Crystal, one of the most hardcore crime boss / dragon-lady mothers this side of Olivia Soprano. Thomas’ every scene is drenched in so much grime and bile (most of it spilling from her lips in jaw-dropping lines of dialogue) that it’s hard to know whether to be horrified or impressed that an actress of her caliber could play trashy evil so damn well. (A dinner scene between Thomas, Gosling, and Thai actress/pop star  is one of the film’s only highlights.)

Kristin Scott Thomas in Only God Forgives Only God Forgives Review

Kristin Scott Thomas in ‘Only God Forgives’

The script was also written by Refn, so there is little help on the narrative front to explain the intended point of it all. There is very little action (or even movement, for that matter); a few standout sequences pass without much emotional or thematic impact, and the film is otherwise punctuated with scenes of brutal torture that is slowly and methodically unfolded in front of the viewer’s eyes. For those not aware that  they were in for a bit of torture-porn cinema: you’ve been warned.

I once had a teacher who said that if nothing else, a film had a duty to at least entertain its viewer and help that viewer delight in the watching. Only God Forgives fails in that task – and I say this as a big fan of the filmmaker’s prior work (Drive in particular). Perhaps Refn and Gosling have reached that critical juncture – the Depp/Burton point – where working together is more stifling than it is mutually beneficial; or maybe Refn just had his usual collection of fetishes and intrigues in mind and just wasn’t as adept at translating them through implication and symbolism like he did with Drive. Whatever the case may be, Only God Forgives is only going to be (remotely) pleasurable to those who are curious fans of the director’s work, or those who indulge in arthouse films where style is exponentially higher than substance. Otherwise, this is not going to be the fight that Ryan Gosling fans were hoping to see.

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Only God Forgives is 90 minutes long and is Rated R for strong bloody violence including grisly images, sexual content and language.

The movie is now in limited theatrical release. It is also available on Video On Demand services (check your local provider) or on iTunes.

Our Rating:

1.5 out of 5
(Poor, A Few Good Parts)

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84 Comments

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  1. Huge fan of Drive and I got the chance to see this a while back: dissapointment does not even begin to externalize it.

    I was not expecting Drive 2 but Kofi once again hits the nail on its head why this film fails on all fronts

  2. As much as I was hoping for another film like “Drive”, I still really liked this one. Definitely not for everyone but I loved it. 3.5/4 for me.

  3. This movie was great. I saw it opening day in Manhattan and Nicolas Winding Refn was there in person to introduce the movie and thank everyone for coming. I loved the eeriness to the movie, it was great.

  4. This is too polarizing for people, absolutely loved the film. Give it 10 years and people will like it. I’m sure of it.

  5. I really liked this movie with a 3/5. It reminded me a lot of the South Korean film, “I Saw the Devil,” which I loved even more. I was amazed at how creepy I found those scenes that were drenched in red light. Also, I found Vithaya Pansringarm’s character Chang to be captivating. Sadly though, there is a thin line between captivating and numbing, and the violence and misogyny were very much the latter.

    I, like most, came to this film as a huge fan of Drive. Personally, Drive won me over with neon & 80s nostalgia. Plus, its love story pulled you in, whereas this movie evokes Oedipus Rex. Drive felt more like a solid action film, but this is much more in the Horror genre. With that said, I think this movie is suffering a lot, because of post-Drive expectations.

    So, if you like Horror movies, you should see this film.

  6. seen this movie twice now. I’m baffled from the reaction from much of the critical community. Every shot in the movie could be framed and hung up on a wall, they’re that gorgeous. Kristen Scott Thomas deserves an Oscar nomination, she’s so amazing in this. My friend put it best: “it’s as if David Lynch and Stanley Kubrick had a baby, send the baby to Korea to learn about revenge cinema, and then when the baby grew up he moved to Thailand.” I shudder to think what some of the ADD generation would think of Lynch’s and some of Kubrick’s classic films if they were released today. In the world of cinema, when done correctly, style IS substance.

    • Completely agree. Your comments make me think of Kubrick’s 2001 and the beauty of that film, and how people would receive it today.

      • I love 2001 but HATED this. What a divisive movie.. The friend I saw it with LOVED it!

    • I’d say more Refn is the missing link between Fincher and Miike, but I absolutely agree about your opinion regarding the movie. I adored both the aesthetic and surprising depth to it.

    • If I can avoid all the generalities about “intelligent” and “pleb” and “shallow” and “deep” and “style” and “substance” and stick to the particulars of the film so that my comment actually means something and/or isn’t just gusty name-calling…

      Hands are the central metaphor, right?? He beat his dad to death with his hands, he has his hands tied down with the girl while she performs for him to halt his intimacy, he touches his mother’s wound the way he touches the prostitute, he gets his hands lopped off like the girl’s father (maybe just in a vision) as a reminder to be a better person, while fronting his drug running with a boxing gym.

      There’s not much more story here than in ‘Once Upon A Time In The West’ and the visuals far outweigh the amount of narrative, as they did in that one. If that’s enough for you, great. If you think there’s no comparison between the two, great.

      Ultimately I agree with Kofi. This was interesting to me but I got seasick from the transitions between nothing happening and insane bloodshed, and it seemed self-indulgent.

      80s crime drama like Miami Vice had cops in the underbelly of the most corrupt city in America at the height of the drug war, so it had some dark stories under all the pastels and bikinis. The lone-wolf existential nonsense was a guilty-pleasure part of it (remember Colin Farrell gazing wistfully at the ocean in the film version) but here it seems to be the whole thing, and it seems a little forced.

      Probably worth watching again for the direction. My $.02

      • I thought he was touching his mother’s womb. The comfort blanket of returning to it knowing what that what was coming was unavoidable and also because of the previous conversation between the two post fight.

        I’ll probably need to see it again to clarify.

  7. I think OGF works brilliantly well, especially in challenging expectation. The themes are clear. So too are the motives of all characters, their methods obviously very different in each case. The great challenge for a film maker is to tell a story so efficiently that you hardly need any dialogue to understand what is happening.

    I think it’s a nice change for a filmmaker to ignore temptation and go in a completely original direction, straight after success in a genre where he could so easily have ‘cashed in’. The real trick here is that Gosling too allows himself to be sidelined by the real protagonist here (Pansringarm), and adds further interest as a result.

    Kofi, would you rather it had been ‘Drive II’ and been entirely predictable, formulaic. Your conclusions once again (for Screen Rant) are unfounded or plain incorrect. The failures – as you describe them just don’t ring true for me. Style in abundance – check. Anti-hero – check. Themes of retribution, honour, criminality, morality, violent resolution, family…..the list is long. All wrapped up in some of the most delicious visuals I’ve seen in years. Little in the way of CGI (at least as far as is noticeable), and another fine collection of music cues.

    You appear to have criticised the film for not being Drive.

    As an art film, crime drama and thriller rolled into one, with counter culture twists against expectation and an entirely unique flavour in a world of derivative ‘copy cat’ cash cow franchise garbage. I’d give Only God Forgives a good 4/5 as a genre buster in the tradition of the French New Wave.

    So ner!

    • As my comment is awaiting moderation (sigh), I’ll just respond to others. I saw it more as ‘Fear X 2′ than anything else. A Freudian examination of man’s primal nature combined with the oedipal to his mother. It is also his most extreme commentary on religion.

      Perhaps my original message has been deemed to contain spoilers, so I’ll leave it there.

      I thought it was an utter masterpiece, quite frankly :)

    • Spot on analysis. Everyone was expecting Drive 2, and when they didn’t get it, all I read or heard was that “the film was terrible”. In actuality, the film is brilliant, as are the numerous metaphors spattered throughout. The music is just as good, if not better, this time around with Cliff Martinez. And what can I say about the beautiful cinematography that hasn’t already been said? Each shot is so meticulously planned that the camera rarely ever cuts away to another shot. Refn seems to be light years ahead of his peers as far as camera work is concerned. I applaud all involved with this project for breaking away from the normalcy and redundancy of Hollywood, and for giving us something fresh and new to talk about for years to come. Great art polarises, and you’re either sure to love it or hate. Those that “get it”, love it, and those that don’t, well, they just don’t. Sorry for your loss!

    • Everything you said… But boring… So so so boring.

  8. This movie is terrible. Anyone saying it’s a masterpiece is trying too hard to be some intellectual cinephile.

    • I agree, while the “look” is pretty nice, the film is pretty awful. The characters have 0 depth at all.

  9. About 4 years ago when I first checked out screenrant I thought Kofi was a jerk. Fought with him at first.
    Found myself the past few years coming here just to read his reviews which are so much richer than the subject matter. I like movies he hates, I hate movies he likes but I’ll be damned I cant say of any other opinion I like to read more than Kofi’s. Technical, behind the scenes, drops new words here and there, and describes what he sees like no other reviewer and I’m from before the Siskel-Ebert era.

  10. Have to, for once, disagree here.

    This is Refn’s most Freudian exercise combined with a (admittedly) forceful dissection on both the inherent fear we have towards God and the need to challenge him. I saw it as an Oedipal nightmare for Julian combined with the theory that freedom, whilst craved, is often rejected and feared due to the notion of responsibility. Quite simply, rightly or wrongly, Julian is the creation of his own mother. It is therefore believable to assume what Julian did prior to relocating was at the subconscious behest of his mother also. Ironically, it evoked a line from ‘Fight Club’, about how if the fathers were models for God and he rejects us, what does that tell you about God?

    Also, consider who the cop actually is an allegory to and put the context of the fight into both this and how the cop himself is portrayed. You can then literally assert the title to the point, the narrative of the movie. If only God can forgive, then the fight against him cannot end in any other way but some form of penance.

    As for Billy, again it comes back to the whole idea of the mother and how she clearly states at the table scene how she preferred him to Julian.

    “A man who has been the indisputable favourite of his mother keeps for life the feeling of a conqueror.”

    This in itself is the very definition of the course Billy takes which in turn leads to the literal guidance of who the cop actually is and the action he allows and takes afterwards.

    Refn has been fascinated from day one about the primal nature of man, of fate, of how they cower to female authority figures on the one hand yet offer a submissive, protective nature to younger versions. This movie is admittedly presenting it in an unchecked manner which to many suggests Refn might need to be checked. I suspect also the trailer fooled many into thinking the fight was the final showdown. There is no resolution per say, only commentary on the religious themes I’ve mentioned.

    Perhaps it just comes down to people expecting ‘Drive 2′ but getting ‘Fear X 2′ instead.

    For the record, I adored every frame :)

    • That’s a perfectly fair and respectable rebuttal.

    • If you had a commentary while the film was playing, perhaps it would of been more enjoyable.

    • If what you say is “true” then the marketing for it is a flat out misrepresentation of the film. When viewing the marketing it was shown to a be a film of physical conflict between antagonist and protagonist in an anti-hero vein.

      It was actually straight up garbage. I understand symbolism and I understood the symbolism, but the fact is that if you have to go to deep into philosophy and metaphor to understand a movie, then it should be relegated to obscure art has theaters and not the general public. It should be discussed in philosophy and psychology. There is simple a more ‘entertaining way’ to communicate the same message than this meandering, disjointed, slow movie.

    • Nice to see that the “intelligentsia” are on hand to tell us plebs that we just didn’t get it. “Oh, Oedipus blah, blah,” “private version of hell etc. etc,” “So Freudian!” I know. I understood it. I “got” it and it is a lovely looking, but thoroughly flat film. I wasn’t expecting “Drive 2.” I read “The Driver” by James Sallis for that. I am not a particularly deep thinker, but I laughed at how cack-handed the presentation of the psychological themes in this were. It isn’t subtle. Kristin Scott Thomas may as well have screamed “I molested my kids, you dummy!” Freudian? You don’t say! And I’ve heard nothing but praise for KST. Does playing a horrible screamer mean someone deserves an oscar? I thought her character was almost pantomime. This film is shallow as a puddle. That isn’t to say that I didn’t like it, I just didn’t enjoy it. Aesthetically pleasing, but not even slightly entertaining. It was like staring at a beautiful painting of very serious people for an hour and a half. 2 out of 5 for looks alone. Kofi hit the nail on the head.

      • Opps, sorry! I meant “Driven.”

        • I don’t think I ever once spoke down to people who didn’t like this movie. Indeed, my whole point was just to counter Kofi suggesting there was little help penetrating the narrative. I cannot counter why people disliked the film as it is very easy to see why they disliked it. I just liked it myself. A lot. It’s not a case of either getting it or not getting it and anyone who suggests otherwise is stating their case from the wrong angle.

          Anyways, I love the fact it is divisive. This is what Refn pretty much intended anyways (especially with all the soundbites he’s been coming out with). Like I said, maybe he does need to be checked a little (although we’re not quite at QT with ‘Django…’ levels yet).

          I also agree that the marketing was very dishonest.

          • Hey Ajeno, I wasn’t specifically referring to your comment! Sorry if you think I was trying to! Everyone is entitled to their own opinion: That’s the only point I’m trying to make. When such a divisive film as this comes up, there is always a counter argument that if you didn’t like it, you just didn’t “get it.” The themes of the film are so obvious in this case, that that argument (which I never subscribe to anyway) is totally redundant. I didn’t dislike the film, I just think it isn’t subtle, or particularly entertaining. It’s rare that a film with so little depth rams it’s theme home so hard. I really don’t think anyone should look too deeply into it. As I said, I’m no deep thinker (and I will give any film a fair go), but how plainly should a film make it’s point? He killed his father and has had sex with his mother, so yeah Oedipus. Wham, right between the eyes. All theme, no character. I totally agree with you on all points, apart from how enjoyable the film is. As many people have said (including a few on SR) “you could take any single frame from the film, and hang it on your wall.” True, but you can’t make the film any more interesting. I think he has went in totally the opposite direction from how he approached Valhalla Rising: He has gone from too obtuse, to too obvious.

            • Nicely put. I can’t help but laugh a little to myself though when reading through this comments section, for it is precisely what Refn was aiming for.

              One certainty is this. There is no middle ground on this movie :)

  11. After watching Drive which I loved in every way. I was extremely disappointed with OGF. Biggest letdown of the year by far for me. Outside of a couple of cool scenes as a whole the box office and poor critical response to this movie represents an accurate depiction of the product. Accurate review.

  12. Kristin Scott Thomas is in this, does Jeremy Clarkson know?

  13. Damn, that is disappointing. I’m a huge fan of Drive and I was looking forward to seeing this. I will still have to see this one though I feel.

  14. The movie was alright. Predictable plot. The whole brother thing was seen a mile away. The ending was a surprise but that was about it. Aside from the predictable plot, the cinematography was great. I would give it about a 3/5. A decent movie but nothing special

  15. Reviews for this seem to be pretty much the same across the board, I’m disappointed but will still go and see it, I loved Drive and Bronson but was bored to tears by Valhala Rising, this sounds like a combination of the three

    I am a huge fan of world cinema and have sat through some real turds, but I have also sat through some real treats! As always I will watch this with an open mind and hope for the best!

  16. This review is completely despicable.

    Only God Forgives was a brilliant, well crafted movie and I agree with real, recognized, and intelligent movie critics that describe this film as a masterpiece, which it absolutely is. It’s not Drive 2, and anybody expecting that would give it 1.5 stars. What an utter lack of understanding.

    I don’t know what I expected from a “movie critic” that gave Man of Steel four stars.

    • Sure man, I’m a total idiot. But this idiot was not a fan of this film.

    • I like how you insult the guy for disliking a movie you liked then insult him again for liking a movie that you didn’t like.

      • Exactly! :D

    • You need a dictionary. Obviously you don’t understand the definition of of despicable or brilliant. Any critic that has called this movie a “Masterpiece” must be a critic for shi…

    • @Nobody
      F*** Off Troll. Sorry SR for the language ;)

    • No, this review is exactly right. Only God Forgives is sporadically interesting, but absolutely empty in every way except the visuals, which are beautiful. I think Kofi made it quite clear that he does indeed understand the very little meat there is to this empty spectacle. There is NOTHING below the surface – not even some very obvious “Oedipal issues” as someone referred to above as being hidden. They’re not hidden. When the mother is comparing the sizes of her two sons’ genitals, is that hidden? When she says she’d knew she said she’d never ask him for anything after “your father…”, is that something you really have to dig into? No, everything is surface in this film, there is no hidden depth, it’s all laid out for you. No thought required. People staring at each other in darkened rooms, or staring out into space doesn’t signify the work of a genius, it signifies a director who is overly in love with long shots and struggles to fill a 90 minute film without them.

      This is the ultimate Emperor’s New Clothes; there’s nothing there of substance. Refn has set out to annoy people, some take the bait and some don’t. Personally, i thought it was pretty good, not enjoyable, but a couple of decent characters, i liked the atmosphere of dread and the stunning visuals, along with the codes of honour, however misguided they may be. But that’s all there is. Anyone trying to claim this is some deep masterpiece is just fooling themselves and trying to pretend they’re some kind of philosopher. Those critics you mentioned who loved it, sorry, they’re fooling themselves and so are you.

      This whole arrogance of “Oh just because it’s not Drive 2 people hate it”, wow, grow up. Anyone who’s ever seen any of Refn’s other films knows what a polarising director he is. To tell other people they didn’t like it because they didn’t understand it is so insulting, especially when you have the nerve to then basically say Kofi’s wrong for liking Man of Steel, which you didn’t like. Maybe you ought to set your own review site up and tell us all what the mighty Nobody thinks we ought to like. I quite liked Only God Forgives, but you are incredibly arrogant to tell people what they did or didn’t understand about this apparent “masterpiece”.

      And on an unrelated note, Kristen Scott Thomas is absolutely awful in this film, really terrible. She acts like she’s in an amateur version of Macbeth, i never knew it was possible to overplay a role in a lowkey way, but she proves that it is. Stiff and quietly melodramatic, i wonder if she’ll look back on this with fond memories or be embarrassed?

  17. Going to be watching this tonight and the critics seem like they’re cut right down the middle. I enjoyed watching the trailers and I like a lot of Ryan Gosling’s performances so there’s a chance I’ll enjoy this.

    Great review as always Kofi.

  18. This movie was like if drive had an abortion… and i dont like abortions.

    1/5

  19. I didn’t like it either, but some of the scenes were visually attractive. Thomas’ acting was on point; she played her part so well that it was essentially believable. The film had a good thing going for itself, but it seemed disjointed; many parts were just boring to me.

  20. I’ve been a fan of Refn’s since Vahalla Rising, and I decided to look at his other films. I see this film as exactly what it is, Vahalla Rising revisited in a modern, Asian setting.

    The movie has clear themes of responsibility, consequences and torture, by which we see through violence and the loyalty of love and family. I believe we have gotten so use to the methods of mainstream film narratives, we forget that cinema is full of contemporary approaches to these themes and executions (ie. French New Wave) and tend to see this sort of depiction as bland, odd or terrible. I have been a fan of this site for 5 years now, and Kofi is always on point with his reviews and while I disagree with a lot of it, I respect his tasteful observations and criticisms. However, I feel this film is just another strong, masterful and arthouse entry into Refn’s growing narratives on the dark side of Man’s turmoil and struggle with existence, purpose and fate.

    Great movie, great review. 5/5 for me

    • I’m not sure that I feel the French New Wave comments.

      It really does smack of desperation and longing to be elevated by categorizing this movie alongside movies from that sub-genre.

  21. Seen Drive, didn’t like it. Saw this hoping it would be better than Drive and closer to Bronson in tone because I did enjoy that movie, even if it did take massive liberties.

    Didn’t like this at all.

    As someone said above, it seems that those calling it a masterpiece want to be seen as highly respected cinephiles and can’t accept when a movie is crap because they just want to like something that the masses find to be utter trash.

    I’ve seen a lot of trash (including both the original and remade versions of I Spit On Your Grave) but this movie really was scraping the barrel on the same level as those horrendous Hostel movies.

    • Dazz, The French New Wave isn’t a ‘sub genre’, it was a movement beginning in the late 1950s that arose when filmmakers tired of the ‘Hollywood’ era style of machine made formula movies. My reference was designed to illustrate the similarity between what Refn has done to defy expectation and what the auters of the 50s/60s came up with in defiance of the predictable studio pictures.

  22. This movie WAS SO INCREDIBLE DISSAPOINTING AWFUL!

    I was so, so, so, so, so, so upset with this movie.

  23. I entirely disagree with your interpretation but this is the point of a critic, to take a stance. Personally, I thought it was moody, beautiful and brilliant.

    An excerpt from my thoughts:

    “Both grounded in the moment and woozily surreal, Nicholas Winding Refn’s Only God Forgives is fire and brimstone fantasia. Refn unwinds traditional placeholders of good and evil, prodding the swaying stack of violence’s wrath, watching the pieces tumble. Through unearthing art and philosophy as one, Refn’s knack for cinematography, tone, samurai-like violence and a pounding score deliver extraordinarily on all fronts and the result is aggressively cinematic. As an indulgent but arresting masterclass in cinema, Refn has again delivered a towering work. Even when the film is as subtle as a neon sign, it’s as sharp as a wakizashi, making Only God Forgives a 21st century creation myth at its most boldly esoteric.”

  24. I said this above, but I thought it should have its own post. I totally agree with Kofi’s rating.

    This movie (outside of the cinematography and the mother’s acting) was actually straight up garbage. I understand symbolism and I understood the symbolism Refn was going for. The fact however is that if you have to go to deep into philosophy and metaphor to understand a movie, then it should be relegated to obscure art has theaters and not the general public.

    I like movies that do ‘try things’ I really do. However, when the author tries to be overly metaphorical and cannot simultaneously do it in a way that is entertaining, then you defeat the purpose.

    I like many others don’t go to films to interpret symbolism. However, if the symbolism is embedded within a highly entertaining narrative, the I truly appreciate it. This movie did the form but failed to do the later.

    This is one of the few movies that when I finished watching it I literally said to myself, “What the F was that S” if you catch my symbolism
    .

    • The fact however is that if you have to go to deep into philosophy and metaphor to understand a movie, then it should be relegated to obscure art has theaters and not the general public.”

      what does that even mean?? Challenging artistic films need to be hidden away so Joe Six Pack’s brain doesn’t hurt when watching them? Should some of Lynch’s and Kubrick’s films never been released to theaters because it’s too difficult for the gen pop? When did grown ups become incapable of engaging film in a grown up way?

  25. I love how people argue about opinions. Makes me giggle.

    I’ve yet to see this, but I’m a fan of Refn’s work. Bronson is in my top five favorite films, and I really enjoyed the tone that Drive set. From the OGF trailers, I can see how people were expecting Drive 2, but honestly how much fun would that have been? We’ve already seen Drive, no need to make it again and give it a new title.

    I like when Refn and Gosling collaborate, so I think I’ll enjoy OGF.

  26. I don’t know the spoiler policy on comments for reviews, but Chang is God in OGF. That’s why he’s so powerful and even untouchable. There’s another speculation going around that Crystal is the devil, the insidious voice in Julian’s ear but I think that one’s more of longshot.

  27. Awesome review Kofi, it’s the only one I’ve read that sums up my thoughts. Empire gave this movie 5 stars. it’s 100% up there in my ‘worst films of all time’ list. It’s what happens when a director and star both get completely sucked into the void of their own hype. If you like long, long shots of wallpaper and people walking slowly in and out of beautifully lit rooms you’ll love it. It thinks it has subtext but it has nothing going on. No story, no script. Gosling has roughly 3 lines. Kirsten Scott Thomas is by far the stand-out. It thinks it’s provocative, but it lacks even shock value or any kind of interesting violence to give you a respite from the neon drenched relentless coma you’re being served up.
    It looks good. It sounds good. That’s it. There was so much potential in the VISUAL world that Refn has created here… It IS beautiful to look at and there are some good ideas. It very badly wants to be a genre mash horror film in the same way Black Swan was but fails on every level. Well, that’s my two cents! Go see the worlds end!

  28. Personally I have loved the majority of Refn’s work. I loved Drive and Bronson, but when I first saw this movie it was a bit disappointing. Maybe I hyped it up in my head too much.

    Watched the movie a second time, to give it a fair viewing, and when you really start to think about it… it’s quite brilliant.

  29. This movie takes time to understand what the story is all about. It will be a classic in ten years time. Refn is one of the most interesting directors of our era. I, personally, absolutely loved it. It was not a story, it was a poem. The music from Martinez with the compelling images created by Refn make this film so clastrophobic and amazing to watch. Just give it time.

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