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Only God Forgives Movie Review

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Only God Forgives Movie Review

Title: Only God Forgives

Director: Nicolas Winding Refn

Starring: Ryan Gosling, Kristin Scott Thomas, Vithaya Pansringarm, Tom Burke, Gordon Brown, Byron Gibson.

Audiences were enamoured with the duo Refn-Gosling when the movie ‘Drive’ was released. But ‘Only God Forgives’ leads the director-actor alchemy to a losing streak.

The crime thriller is set in Bangkok, where Julian (Ryan Gosling) runs a Thai boxing club as front organisation for his family’s drug smuggling operation, as he is forced by his Cruella De Vil mother (Kristin Scott Thomas), to find and kill the man responsible for the recent death of his brother Billy.

Nicolas Winding Refn tries to mix the Tarantinian world with Lynch’s atmosphere. But the outcome is pretty lame. Other than the indulgence in his taste for ultra violent and misanthropic scenes, the plot drags in a hackneyed vendetta story, where the male lead is bottled up in an oedipal and castrating subjection to his merciless mother.

The cinematography is extremely polished and spotless: neon lights set the mood of each scene as the camera slowly and claustrophobically sways in each ambiance. Actors are forced to play preposterous stereotypes. Ryan Gosling, barely acts or speaks, other than a few contrite expressions, clenched fists and a badly choreographed fight. Kristin Scott Thomas seems Donatella Versace’s version of Lady Macbeth, compelling her son to avenge Billy’s murder, behind her long platinum hair, her stylish colourful clothes and her heavy make-up. As for Vithaya Pansringarm, all he’s been told to do is cut up men with his dancing blade, whereas pop-star Yaya Ying plays the “flesh” of the movie, for a forklift upgrade of the mediocre storyline.

The drama plods, as the slow motion sequences pulse to the beat of Clint Martinez’s score, probably the only thing worth saving in the entire movie.

Technical: B

Acting: B

Story: C

Overall: C+

Written by: Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi

Only God Forbids Movie Review

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Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi, is a film critic, culture and foreign affairs reporter, screenwriter, film-maker and visual artist. She studied in a British school in Milan, graduated in Political Sciences, got her Masters in screenwriting and film production and studied at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in New York and Los Angeles. Chiara’s “Material Puns” use wordplay to weld the title of the painting with the materials placed on canvas, through an ironic reinterpretation of Pop-Art, Dadaism and Ready Made. She exhibited her artwork in Milan, Rome, Venice, London, Oxford, Paris and Manhattan. Chiara works as a reporter for online, print, radio and television and also as a film festival PR/publicist. As a bi-lingual journalist (English and Italian), who is also fluent in French and Spanish, she is a member of the Foreign Press Association in New York, the Women Film Critics Circle in New York, the Italian Association of Journalists in Milan and the Federation of Film Critics of Europe and the Mediterranean. Chiara is also a Professor of Phenomenology of Contemporary Arts at IED University in Milan.

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