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Only God Forgives (0/10)

by Tony Medley

Runtime 89 minutes.

Not for children.

Even God would find it difficult to forgive this piece of pseudo-stylistic rubbish. Itís little more than a craven display of stomach-churning graphic mayhem. Why a budding superstar like Ryan Gosling would attach his persona to a thing like this is beyond comprehension. Exacerbating its distastefulness are the opaque story-telling, the immoral message, and the zombie like movements of the characters.

Writer/director Nicolas Winding Refn, who was responsible for Goslingís interesting film, Drive (2011), says he wanted to make a film about someone fighting God. Instead he makes this monstrosity. Only from the production notes was I able to discern the plot but knowing the plot doesnít make this any more palatable. Since itís unlikely that anybody reading this critique who gives it any value will actually see this, I wonít bore you with any reference to Refnís ďplot,Ē except to say that it has something to do with the mob and an Oedipus complex. But itís mostly just an excuse to show as much torture in as much graphic detail as possible

There isnít a sympathetic character in the film. Chang (Vithaya Pansringarm) is an avenging evil who walks like a zombie and kills without feeling. His kills are shown in graphic, bloody detail. Gosling also walks around like a zombie (they all do, actually), showing no emotion but killing people nonetheless. Gosling and Chang end up being antagonists. But who cares? Thereís nobody in this film who inspires any feelings of compassion.

Refn films scenes that have no business on any screen. The MPAA to its everlasting discredit gives this an R rating. Iíve never seen a film that more deserved to be NC-17 for its gross, graphic torture scenes of bloody killings. Graphically showing a character slowly excising a manís eye out with a knife and all the other mutilations apparently are no more morally objectionable than showing a womanís nipple, because the latter will always result in an the very same R rating the MPAA awards this. This is just another example of many that there is something dreadfully wrong with Hollywood values and that the problem starts at the top.

June 19, 2013