Film Capsule: Only God Forgives

Esteemed Writer/Director Nicolas Winding Refn would like you to know something: The strong-silent type – arguably the most identifiable of all American archetypes – was originally the expressed province of the East. Assuming Refn is to be believed, that archetype may steadily be shifting its way right back toward southern Asia … back to a place and time which never really agreed to relinquish it in the first place.

I mean, the whole thing’s a little bit confusing, sure, what with all the complex layers of sex and death and blood and gore and shades of crimson red and black. But the bottom line is this: the much-anticipated reunion between Drive‘s Ryan Gosling and Nicolas Winding Refn represents a significant letdown, to say the least. The major sticking point throughout being that there’s very little meat worth digging into here. Kristin Scott Thomas plays a nasty fucking trollop with an acid tongue, Vithaya Pansringarm plays some geriatric mystic with a jones for karaoke, and Ryan Gosling plays the dutiful son – a borderline catatonic who measures every movement and speaks in three-word snippets. The entire film is a bold and bloody and sometimes-even-baleful ball of beeswax. And I’ll have words with any varmint who says different.   

(Only God Forgives arrives in limited release and Video OnDemand today.)