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Bangkok. Ten years ago Julian killed a man and went on the run. Now he manages a Thai boxing club as a front for a drugs operation. Respected in the criminal underworld, deep inside, he feels empty. When Julian's brother murders an underage prostitute, the police call on retired cop Chang - the Angel of Vengeance. Chang allows the father to kill his daughter's murderer, then 'restores order' by chopping off the man's right hand. Julian's mother Crystal - the head of a powerful criminal organization - arrives in Bangkok to collect her son's body. She dispatches Julian to find his killers and 'raise hell'. Written by
Swedish underground filmmaker Henrik Möller felt the film was too cynical and did not warrant anything more than a Pirate Bay download. See more »
After the fight of the opening scene, the arm of the winner is raised by the referee and the defeated fighter is picked up by his helpers in blue. When the camera cuts to the other side of the ring, this is shown again. See more »
Quite possibly the most tedious revenge movie ever made.
Drive, the previous movie from director Nicholas Winding Refn and actor Ryan Gosling, utilised a deliberate and rather stilted style that not only resulted in a unique air of cool but which also had the effect of making the movie's explosive scenes of violence more impactful. In Only God Forgives, Refn and Gosling repeat this sparing, slow-burn technique, but take it to the nth degree; this time around the effect is to completely bore the crap out of the viewer.
Quite simply, Only God forgives has got to be one of the most excruciating exercises in cinema it has ever been my misfortune to witness. Every pan, track or zoom is agonisingly drawn out, the camera movement often being almost imperceptible. A good percentage of scenes comprise of corridors, or people not moving, or people moving very slowly, or karaoke performances (slow songs, of course). Virtually every scene is lit in either red or blue, which gets extremely irritating. Gosling's brooding expression remains the same throughout the entire film. Conversations take an age to unfold. Minutes seem like hours. Hours seem like days. Time eventually loses all meaning.
Even the film's few scenes of brutal violence are shot in such a way as to render them totally boring.
Art-house types will love the film (or at least pretend to), finding hidden meaning and symbolism in its languorous plot and mind-bogglingly dull execution, but most right-minded people will quite rightly dismiss this for the utter garbage that it is.
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