Movie ReReview – Only God Forgives



IMDB Rating: 6.2 out of 10 (20,065 votes)

Director: Nicolas Winding Refn

The ABSOLUTELY AMAZING poster for Only God Forgives.

The ABSOLUTELY AMAZING poster for Only God Forgives.

Only God Forgives is the only film I’ve seen twice in cinema in my life. I had to. When I first saw it, I thought it was just okay; some of it was just all too much for me. But days after seeing it, it was still on my mind. Credit to a film that can do that.

So I saw it again, thus the “ReReview” (read my first review here).

Was it as good second time around?

It was better.

Yes, those few problems still stuck out a little. There are scenes that don’t make sense and certain decisions made by Refn, including but not exclusive to violence control, that don’t really work for me – at least not how it should. Although, some of that improves; the torture scene is a little less vile and a little more investing, along with a noticeable improvement on character interest.

And seeing it for a second time opened my eyes in ways I never thought imaginable. The film does a lot right. And by ‘right’, I mean absolutely excellently. I can now see just how great Nicolas Winding Refn’s direction really is; the way he works the camera is so powerful, it appeals to me more than any other style. The music, as said in my previous review, is simply unforgettable; I don’t think it’s unfair to say that the film wouldn’t have been nearly as good without it. The look of the film is breathtaking.

The hands...

The hands…

The themes of the film seem a lot more relevant and obvious to me now. It’s more obvious now that Chang is God, completely untouchable and distributing justice. When being followed, he disappears. When dishing out justice, he pulls a sword from seemingly nowhere. When shot at, he’s missed. When fought, not a hand is laid on him. When chasing someone, he senses them coming without looking. Who else but a god could do all of that?

And when he’s the only one left to, he forgives. And as we know from the title: Only God Forgives.

Crystal is such a bad mother, but such a good character, and Kristen Scott Thomas’ performance is invigorating. Her lines are awfully confronting and shocking, and the way Scott Thomas says them makes us feel like she could make anything sound rude and insulting.

I also seem to like Ryan Gosling’s performance the more I reflect on it, as do I with Vithaya Pansringarm who brings an amazing presence to each scene he’s in.

The experience – and I mean that with all seriousness, because it is an experience – of Only God Forgives is one of the most eye-poppingly intense experiences all year. The film is so different to anything we’ll see all year. It will have you going one way or another, without a doubt, because you’ll find it provocative to the point of hands-on-faces – you’ll either love that or hate it.

I loved it.

Wanna fight?

Wanna fight?

I think Only God Forgives is beautiful, and so worth seeing in cinema. It crashes through every limitation of mainstream cinema and wants you to watch it through the gaps between your fingers. Only God Forgives is extremely intense, and heart-pumping. The pulpy vibe streaks across your eyes, and the music stays in your ears – but you don’t mind at all.

What I’m getting at is that you have to see it in the cinema, not on any other form, and I probably won’t see it again in my life unless it becomes a Tommy-Wiseau-like cult classic which must be shown in future days. I don’t want to spoil my thoughts on it with an exterior feeling while watching it again.

But Only God Forgives, while unforgiving, is a smart film, is incredibly intense, is provocative – but gee, is it something special.

MY RATING: 8.5 out of 10.

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