Movie review: Only God forgives

Movie review: Only God forgives
Only God Forgives starring Ryan Gosling

Movie Review

ONLY GOD FORGIVES (M18)

Duration: 89 minutes

Ratings: 3.5/5

This film, which was booed at the Cannes Film Festival in May when it premiered, is nowhere near as bad as its reception in France would suggest.

But neither is it as good as Drive (2011), also starring Ryan Gosling, a stylish, taut thriller built around the character of Gosling's laconic getaway driver.

Bangkok crime boss Julian (Gosling, right) does all he can to keep his psychotic brother Billy (Tom Burke) in line, but one day, Billy crosses the line. Police chief Chang (Vithaya Pansringarm) exacts vigilante justice, but Julian refuses to retaliate.

Enter Crystal (Kristin Scott Thomas), their mother, a domineering woman who knows how to press her son's buttons. She orders him to seek revenge.

Here, Gosling is just as tight-lipped; it is likely that he speaks fewer than a hundred words over this film's 89 minutes. But where the Driver was a man of action, Gosling's Julian is a man of inaction. He broods and he spectates until, in the final act, when he comes face-to-face with Chang.

Director Nicolas Winding Refn has made a revenge thriller that is often infuriatingly opaque, but which, in its own way, is lush and deeply romantic.


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