29
Mar
19

Only God Forgives

The combination of Nicolas Winding Refn and Ryan Gosling made Drive one of the best films of 2011. So, it seemed that their re-teaming for the 2013 neo-noir Only God Forgives would be a sure thing. Unfortunately, it was about as far from a sure thing as you can get. Only God Forgives is one of the most punishingly terrible movies I have ever seen. From the first fucking frame to the moment the end credits roll, watching this movie is an exercise in patience. Its pace is plodding, its plot non-existent, and its use of a talented cast squandered.
The movie flows like this: 20 minutes of characters staring at each other, Gosling has a hallucinatory vision, someone dies gruesomely, rinse and repeat. The movie barely has any dialogue. Gosling maybe has five lines in the entire thing. Sure, he barely spoke in Drive, but the other characters spoke and moved the story along. In this movie, nobody speaks. It is practically a silent film. This would be OK if there was constant kinetic movement, but there is none of that. The characters sit around staring at each other or staring into space for huge stretches. A tightly edited version could probably be whittled down to 15 minutes. As a short film, it could have been amazing, but the choices Refn made turned it into a bloated, unwatchable piece of shit.
Refn has his head too far up his own pretentious ass to realize he has created the cinematic equivalent of watching paint dry. He has praised himself, and this film, as one of the all-time greats, and has been mocked by many reviewers, including director William Friedkin. Refn thinks that by having vast swaths of silence, punctuated by over-the-top violence and bizarre visuals, he is creating art. But David Lynch he ain’t. Lynch at least has a purpose behind his films, whereas Refn just farts at the viewers and expect them to sniff it up like the world’s finest wine. In short, he has no clue what he is doing, and his massive ego prevents him from admitting he fucked up.
Only God Forgives is so horrifically bad, it deserves a score lower than shitty. Too bad I don’t have one. Someday, when the entire cast and crew is dead, they will find out if God will forgive them for making this turd.
Verdict: Shitty
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