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2.4 out of 5 stars247
2.4 out of 5 stars
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on 6 January 2016
Only God Forgives, is the sort of film you have to bring no preconceptions to, then you will appreciate it more. It does leave lasting impressions though, the sort that get into your subconscious and mess things up a bit. It is full of set pieces that solidify some of our darkest desire and greatest fears. Alongside the powerful imagery and visual statements there is a narrative but trying to hold on to this provides little comfort for the journey.
Watch Only God Forgives with different eyes and expectations to regular, classic narrative films and you will enjoy it. Also watch it for the way Nicolas Winding Refn uses his craft to create strong, permanent memories. Light is his brush in this one.
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on 31 July 2013
There is nothing like an oddball Thai noir film with Ryan Gosling. Ryan runs a fight club in Thailand. His older brother Billy kills a prostitute. Billy in turn is killed by the father of the dead girl, assisted by a vigilante cop (Vithaya Pansringarm). Ryan realizes his brother was no saint and doesn't enact revenge and then the over the top drug dealing potty mouthed mom (Kristin Scott Thomas) shows up to makes things worse.

The main problem with this film is that Ryan's character was never developed, or developed to the point you cared about him. It was a bad role. The drug dealing, while discussed wasn't really part of the plot other than background material. The background of Billy, was told to us as was many plot points that didn't mesh well into an enjoyable tale. Kristin Scott Thomas' character carried the film for what it was worth.

This film is clearly not for everyone and I give three stars for its uniqueness and potential, not the entertainment value.

Parental Guide: F-bomb, N-word. No nudity (unless you count art). No sex. Adult themes.
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on 25 May 2015
Okay let me get something clear. This film is not for everyone. If you're the casual movie goer who wants to relax and watch some action or stuff like that then look away. This film is for the kind of movie lover who likes to think, who likes to analyze and likes these dark movies. There is child prostitution, murder, rape, themes of incest, explicit sexual themes. But what you need to understand is that it is not just there for the sake of being there, the director doesn't put it in because he wants to shock you he does it because he can use it to add to the film, whether to deepen characters and develop their backstory or set the tone or in fact just be a metaphor or something to develop the plot. The score is great, it's visually fantastic, stunning if you will. And while some may say it's style over substance (and I wouldn't necessarily disagree with them) I do believe there is a lot more to it through analyzing the film. I ask the people who hated it to re-watch it with the understanding that this isn't the revenge flick you were probably expecting the first time you went to see it and to really think and not have the film explain everything to you and hopefully you will enjoy it or atleast get a bit more out of it than the first time. And if not then that's fine, if you're one of those people then I recommend Drive, that one is a little more easy to like. I personally loved the film as the art house movie buff that I am
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 4 December 2013
`Only God Forgives' is one of those `Marmite films.' Basically, you'll either love it or hate it. I daresay there are few with feelings in between those two ends of the scale.

Some will say that it's a beautiful, arty masterpiece. Others will simply label it dull and boring. Basically, it's both and neither. How you perceive it will largely depend on how much you like these types of films.

It's billed as a `revenge thriller.' That may not sit well with some people as they may feel a bit mislead. If `revenge thriller' makes you think of plenty of action and fast-paced car chases, you are severely far from the mark. Yes, it's about revenge, but it's more of an `art-piece' than an all-out action thriller.

The scenes are slow, filled with painstakingly long shots of characters as the camera pans backwards. Every shot has been crafted to perfection, primarily utilising colours and lighting, over snappy dialogue. Plus, if you're watching it for the film's leading man, Ryan Gosling, you may need to know that in the ninety minutes the film runs for, he only has about twenty-two lines to say.

Basically, don't expect action and thrills (even though it's labelled a `thriller'), expect violent art and understated performances. If you can live with that, you'll love it. If that doesn't sound like your ideal way to spend an hour and a half then it's probably best to steer well clear.
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I have seen some awful films in my time and Only God Forgives is now firmly in my top 10, and I can see why their are over 120 negative reviews. But there is one positive and that's the Blu-ray quality is just beautiful, but sadly this can't save this dire film.
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on 16 January 2016
Not for the faint hearted. There are one or two scenes that are pretty strong shall we say, but awesome stuff from icy Kristen Scott Thomas and beautifully shot. I loved it
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on 1 December 2013
'Only God Forgives' seems to have received very mixed reviews since it's release and I believe one of those reasons is how it was marketed.

the original marketing material painted the film as a revenge thriller that revolved around Ryan Gosling's character who ran a gym. It would have been easy to believe that the movie would be a violent action packed thriller with the brutality of the director's previous film 'Drive'.

This way of thinking really does 'Only God Forgives' no justice at all.

What we have is a powerful character study that is as achingly beautiful as it is stunningly emotional. Many have comment that there isn't much dialogue, but this is why the film works on a far greater level then almost all other films made in recent years. It knows when to show and not tell, which is arguably what film is meant to do.

Every shot in the film could be a photograph and every note of music is as perfect as scores can be. The main `fight' in the film is so beautiful that it really feels like a dance between two different generations, both believing that they are doing what is right.

For me this film is as close to perfect as cinema can be and I truly believe that it is a film that should be experienced.

I understand that many will not agree with me, but for all those that don't I'm hoping that an equal number will. This film may not be as action packed as their previous film 'drive' but in my view it is a far more accomplished piece of cinematic genius....

I truly love this film and cannot truly express how stunning an achievement it is.
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on 14 March 2014
I'm all for diversity in film making, every film doesnt have to be a straight forward, blood guts and action fest.

But this is just poor, I'm a fan of Ryan Gosling but don't rate this film at all. The storyline/setting has so much potential, but this film is forgetful.

Avoid.
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on 24 August 2015
I had always regarded Ms Scott Thomas as a 'quality indicator' on any cast listing. Sadly I now know this not to be the case after watching this pretentious tosh. The budget for this movie obviously went on bulk purchasing of red lighting gel rather than quality editing.
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on 19 October 2014
A slow movie full of mostly silent people doing nothing much in a Bangkok that looks like it has been evacuated, or in interiors that are usually red, orange and black, as oppressive as this movie might well be. On a more positive note the slow silent people do occasionally do something, like kill or maim someone, after which they stare into space or sing karaoke. It's like Eraserhead on bad acid seen through a red light bulb daubed with black streaks, or something equally daft. At first I thought the slow reflectiveness of most of the cast and the lethargic pace was some zen meditation thing, then I started to wonder if it was a heroin thing. I concluded that the film was an experiment that went horribly wrong. Or maybe I just missed the elephant in the room.
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