Saturday, 28 September 2013

15 Second Review: Only God Forgives (2013)

Visually, Only God Forgives is stunning. The director of photography, set designers, lighting crew and so forth have created a film so beautifully composed that virtually every frame - and I mean that quite literally - looks like it belongs in an art gallery. Unfortunately, this approach has a negative impact on the movie. The design is so contrived that the whole film feels overly self-conscious. The movie comes across like a lover who is over-thinking their every move rather than allowing themselves to be swept up in the moment. Refn et al simply try too hard, and the film suffers as a result. Worse still, the film has little substance beyond its good looks. The plot is so threadbare and the narrative is so thematically sparse that the movie drags along. Although it barely scrapes 90 minutes, Only God Forgives is a dull experience. Ryan Gosling's stilted, gormless performance is either evidence that he cannot act, that he was woefully miscast, that the character was too underdeveloped to provide a coherent center for the film, or that Refn/Gosling have made a bad call about how the role should be performed. All in all, Only God Forgives would make an interesting photographic exhibition, but fails as a narrative. 

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