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Only God Forgives Blu-ray Review

Only God Forgives Blu-ray

“Only God Forgives” is an endurance test.

Hot off the admirable, but vastly overrated cult favorite “Drive,” director Nicolas Winding Refn reteams with star Ryan Gosling once again for another violence filled crime story in 2013’s “Only God Forgives.” The film (set in Bangkok) begins with a psychotic man (Billy) murdering a prostitute. After a Police officer (Lt. Chang) arrives at the scene of the crime, he gives the father of the murdered woman permission to seek revenge against Billy by killing him. When Billy’s crime boss mother (Crystal) learns of her son’s murder, she decides to travel to Bangkok. While there, she also meets her other  son (a fugitive named Julian) who runs a Thai Boxing Club that is really a front for a drug business. Crystal wants Julian to kill those responsible for Billy’s death, but Julian initially refuses. He later decides to obey his mother’s wish when he learns that the vengeful Lt. Chang is aware that he is being targeted by Crystal.

One would think that a story about family, justice, violence, revenge, and vengeance would at least be emotional and or intense, but that’s not the case with the dark, ugly, and pretentious “Only God Forgives.” Writer/director Nicolas Winding Refn is his own worst enemy here as he gives the audience nothing to latch onto here. It’s a very inaccessible film (to say the least) and it’s hard to care about anything happening on screen.

To make the viewing experience even less pleasurable, Refn’s 90 minute experiment is largely uneventful. It’s quite possible that at least 60% of the film is comprised of walking, mumbling, long beats, and blank staring. No, that’s not a joke.

Some of you are probably wondering “How is the dreamy Ryan Gosling in this?” Truth be told, his quiet, tough guy shtick is really tiresome in this. While he did that act well in “Drive” and the highly underrated “The Place Beyond The Pines,” he overplays the character of Julian. On the bright side, Kristin Scott Thomas does shine here as the no nonsense Crystal. It’s just a shame her talents were wasted in this film though.


Presentation: 1.85:1 1080p. How does it look? The dark and colorful cinematography is one of the few highlights of this production and it looks stunning here in hi-def.

Audio Track: 5.1 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? While the track is fine, viewers might want to crank up the audio to hear what the heck the characters are saying.

* 2 free music tracks from the “Only God Forgives” soundtrack.
* 2 different interviews with Nicolas Winding Refn talking about Thailand and genre films.
* “The Music Of Only God Forgives With Cliff Martinez”- The title of the featurette speaks for itself.
* “Behind The Scenes”- A series of 12 behind-the-scenes videos showing the cast and crew at work on various scenes. Expect to see some rehearsals of fight and action scenes as well. Definitely the best extras on this disc.
* Commentary by Damon Wise and Nicolas Winding Refn. Refn even sounds pretentious in this dull track.

Overall Thoughts: Unless you really love the work of Refn and or Gosling, “Only God Forgives” isn’t worth spending 90 minutes on.

October 21, 2013 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , ,

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