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Only God Forgives Review

4 Reasons to Skip Only God Forgives — Even If You Love Ryan Gosling

Whether you're a die-hard Ryan Gosling fan or you've just been looking forward to his second collaboration with Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn, you may want to think twice before seeing Only God Forgives. The überviolent film about a man avenging his brother's death in Bangkok debuted to boos and mixed reviews at Cannes earlier this year, but I figured I could handle it. After all, what's a little bloodshed when Ryan Gosling is involved, right? Turns out, there's a lot more than dangerous swordplay to Only God Forgives — and most of it is painfully slow or horribly twisted.

The good news is that I saw the movie, so you don't have to! If you're not yet convinced, then check out all my reasons below. If you still want to see if after reading — well, don't say you haven't been warned.

  1. This is not the Ryan Gosling we know and love. I'm all for actors exploring new creative directions, but this role is just awful. His character Julian is depressing and uninteresting, and not once does he crack a smile. Gosling plays a similarly quiet, stoic character in Drive, but at least there he has a playful side. Here, he's just drab.
  2. The violence is over-the-top and disgusting. This movie starts with the rape and murder of a 16-year-old-girl — then it gets worse. A crooked investigator named Chang (Vithaya Pansringarm) lets the girl's father loose on his daughter's murderer, and the result is gag-inducing. Chang has a penchant for cutting people's hands off with his giant samurai sword, which is also shown. At one point, a man is tied to a chair while his eyes are sliced and a spear is put through his skull. If you're grossed out even reading about it, then you definitely don't want to see it.

To find out more reasons, just read more.

  1. The narrative is terribly slow. The story revolves around Julian, who does little more than sulk around a boxing arena and play sexual games with Mai, a wary prostitute (Yayaying Rhatha Phongam). Once his mother (Kristin Scott Thomas) comes to pressure him into avenging the murder of his brother, the movie gets even slower, with gratuitously long, slow-motion takes. Everything is dark and dingy, and it takes forever to get anywhere.
  2. It's just plain icky. Julian shares a bit of chemistry with Mai, but he has even more sexual tension with his mother. Yes, his mother. The movie keeps you guessing in the have-they-or-haven't-they game, which is really uncomfortable.

Source: Bold Films
LittleMzFit LittleMzFit 4 years
This article doesn't sway me one way or the other. The comments are interesting, though. I'll probably see the movie, anyway...just because I'm curious and I want to see for myself.
longhornlass04 longhornlass04 4 years
I actually rented this movie On Demand at home with my husband, despite the reviews and I have to disagree with this review. I can be a bit A.D.D. when I watch movies at home but I stayed focus this whole movie. Yes, I was a huge and still a huge fan of Drive and Refn's unique storytelling style, and I think he provided the same storytelling style with OGF. His slow camera panning is purposeful. You don't need a Sorkin pace of dialogue to know what's happening and how it's affecting the characters. Sometimes a slow facial expression is all you need. I would even liken his pacing to a horror movie. The camera POV lets your imagination run wild. But if you're the type of person that needs everything to be spelled out for you at hyper speed, then don't see this movie. Besides, I'm surprised people are so shocked by the violence. The trailer doesn't leave you to believe this is going to be a kids movie.
Assistant-Community-Manager Assistant-Community-Manager 4 years
Hi Narsimha14732033, Thanks for sharing your feedback on our post! Your previous comment was removed because it broke our Terms of Service which you can review here: Though we are glad you shared your opinion on the review, we don't allow the language that you used directed at our editors. If you have any questions please feel free to reach out to us at
Narsimha14732033 Narsimha14732033 4 years
That's cool, delete my post since I called you out on how bad this article is. . I was seriously wondering how you could get paid to write this. You basically said the movie is bad because it Golsing isnt doing what you wanted (a majority of which is apparently just looking cute) and because it's slow and dark. Wow, what a fantastic and insightful piece.
bushra bushra 4 years
yep, count me out!
Nancy-Einhart Nancy-Einhart 4 years
WOW. Until now I shared your "why not see it?" attitude. But now I know why not.
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