View Full Version : Only God Forgives

03-04-2013, 12:46 PM
I watched Drive the other day and it made me so much more excited to see what Nicolas Winding Refn and Ryan Gosling have up their sleeve next with Only God Forgives. Currently, I don't think there's a release date but the movie is in post production now.


According to a production synopsis, the film follows Julian, who runs a Thai boxing club as a front organization for his family's drug smuggling operation, as he is forced by his mother Jenna to find and kill the individual responsible for his brother's recent death.

Gosling has described the script of Only God Forgives as "the strangest thing I've ever read and it's only going to get stranger." Like Drive, Only God Forgives was largely shot chronologically and scenes were often edited the day they were shot

Refn drew a connection between Only God Forgives and Drive, saying that "[Only God Forgives] is very much a continuation of that language""[i]t's based on real emotions, but set in a heightened reality. It's a fairy tale."

03-04-2013, 04:11 PM
There's a rumor that it might premiere at Cannes this coming May as it was originally supposed to come out last year but Refn was still editing the film at the time.

04-04-2013, 01:23 PM

Trailer was released and it looks amazing. Goosebump worthy.

04-04-2013, 02:40 PM
That trailer alone makes me want to see this film even more. I love Refn's work as I'm extremely anxious to see this film as it's in my top 5 list of films to see for 2013.

04-04-2013, 03:29 PM
damn, cannot wait...had no idea the trailer was released, thanks for posting about it!

04-18-2013, 03:48 PM

04-18-2013, 03:58 PM
I read at IndieWire that it will be at Cannes competing for the Palme D'or and the competition is fierce as Refn is going to go up against new films by the Coen Brothers, Roman Polanski, Alexander Payne, Francois Ozon, Asghar Fardi, and many others. I always love what is coming at Cannes.

05-24-2013, 03:18 PM
So apparently it's been getting negative reactions at Cannes. Of course, many films have premiered there with not so hot reactions only to be remembered very fondly later. Some reviews have called it a hyper violent disgusting piece of trash and others praise it's world and call it a work of art.

I think what this may come down to is expectations on what preceded a director's previous film with the same team working together. This just makes me even more anxious to see it.


Here's the second trailer for anyone that missed it..

05-24-2013, 03:37 PM

05-24-2013, 06:16 PM
Unless you're a film like... Southland Tales, any film that gets booed at Cannes is essentially a badge of honor. Here's a great blog post from a fellow blogger of mine about some great movies booed at Cannes: http://www.andsoitbeginsfilms.com/2013/05/top-10-movies-booed-at-cannes.html

06-13-2013, 09:49 AM

06-13-2013, 05:43 PM

that was an interesting read.

Conrad Lienert
06-13-2013, 06:38 PM
Unless you're a film like... Southland Tales, any film that gets booed at Cannes is essentially a badge of honor. Here's a great blog post from a fellow blogger of mine about some great movies booed at Cannes: http://www.andsoitbeginsfilms.com/2013/05/top-10-movies-booed-at-cannes.html

Hey! I love Southland Tales.
Seriously, am I the only one??? I even bought the graphic novel.

06-13-2013, 10:16 PM
Hey! I love Southland Tales.
Seriously, am I the only one??? I even bought the graphic novel.

There is a minority that does love that film but I am very doubtful they can defend the film for its bad voice-overs, nonsensical storyline, poor compositions, and not being able to match up its ambitions though it does have some good performances from The Rock and Seann William Scott.

Conrad Lienert
06-16-2013, 08:13 PM
There is a minority that does love that film but I am very doubtful they can defend the film for its bad voice-overs, nonsensical storyline, poor compositions, and not being able to match up its ambitions though it does have some good performances from The Rock and Seann William Scott.

I don't think it can be explained. And if it could, I wouldn't waste my breath anyway. You either love it or say "What the fuck did I just watch".

07-19-2013, 06:41 PM
I saw an advanced screening of this on Wednesday at the Lincoln Center in NYC. There was a Q&A with Nicolas Winding Refn afterwards, and 2 of the great Thai actors even showed up (this was not advertised on FilmLinc's website). All 3 had great, funny anecdotes to share. Refn is hilarious. I love his sense of humor and general demeanor.

And I loved the movie.

I wasn't sure if I would love it, or even like it (I knew I wanted to) but I did. I've intentionally avoided reviews so I'm not sure what the main criticisms are. I partly credit my positive reaction to Refn setting the tone when introducing the film: "I'm sure a lot of you are expecting Drive. This isn't Drive. If Drive was cocaine, then Only God Forgives is really good acid."

OGF is damn surreal. It gets fairly trippy. I was not expecting this for some reason. It was a pleasant surprise. My friends who came with me thought it was very slow and that it relied too heavily on silences. We all agreed we want to see it again.

I illustrated/designed my own poster for the movie and made some prints that I brought to the screening. I ran back to my car at one point to grab a sharpie that I forgot - when I came back to the lobby, one of my friends was there, and he points behind me: "there's the director." Refn was casually eating popcorn, chatting with anyone who wanted to. One girl was really chatting him up, and I wanted to get in a word before showtime. I ended up politely butting in saying "Hey, would either one of you like this poster I made?" Both were really into it. When I asked Nicolas to sign a copy for me, he just looked at his hands covered in popcorn butter and said "Yeah, hold on." I talked with a few more people who saw my artwork, and when Refn came back, he asked me how I made it, etc. I asked him if I gave him a copy yet and he said "No, not yet, can I have two?" That was awesome. We shook hands and said bye.

When the moderator came out for the Q&A, he announced that the best audience questions would be voted on and would receive either an OGF shirt, CD or vinyl. Cool. Again, the interview was very entertaining, and I'm hoping it gets posted soon. When the questions got turned over to the audience, there were the standard film student inquiries, but Refn's answers never disappointed. When it got to the last question of the night, I put 2 hands up since I wasn't wearing anything to make me stand out - thankfully, my friend basically shouted "over here" and I got called on. I stood up and said something like "I have so many questions. I've got a serious one in mind and a silly one..." and before I can ask anything, Refn says "This gentleman actually made a poster for the movie, so give him the album" -- and so I got the 2xLP of Cliff Martinez's score before I even asked a question. Amazing. If you've read this far, I asked "Would you rather act in a buddy cop movie alongside Gosling or Mikkelsen?" He laughed, understandably avoided the question, and said "Whatever I say, I'm gonna get an angry email in the morning."

Refn signing my poster. Guess which one I am ;)

My signed poster.

07-22-2013, 01:32 PM
While I didn't find the movie boring I was kinda disappointed that it was SO stylised. I found Valhalla more tedious but at least the characters made sense and had some realism to them. The over use of emptyness/nothingness was just too much and I found myself taken out of the whole experience because of it.

Fucking loved the cinematography and set designs though. From the awesomely lit interior textured wallpapers at night to the incredible dynamic range of the outdoor day scenes, it all looked incredible.

07-22-2013, 02:07 PM
It's not playing anywhere near me. Damn.

07-24-2013, 09:18 AM
I just watched Refn's Pusher trilogy. Damn, that was a good set films.

08-02-2013, 07:22 PM
here's the video of the Q&A/interview.


08-02-2013, 07:53 PM
I saw this last Saturday, here's my full review: http://thevoid99.blogspot.com/2013/07/only-god-forgives.html

08-03-2013, 08:27 AM
The most anti-climatic movie I have ever seen. The only aspect I really liked was the stylish directing and the atmosphere... everything else was just boring and blah.

08-03-2013, 10:09 PM
I gotta agree with you Self.Destructive.Pattern
All the characters felt one dimensional and you just didn't care for them at all...
But visually, it was absolutely stunning to look at. Beautiful and vivid colors... a little trippy at moments
Kinda got a Kubrick-ian "A Clockwork Orange" vibe to me when it came to the filming
I think the visual aspect is what kept me glued the whole time
But definitely no "Drive" status (would love them to do the sequel), which is one of my favorite movies ever
Oh, and great soundtrack as well... both "Drive" & "Only God Forgives"

08-04-2013, 06:41 PM
This has some of the most laughably bad dialogue in a film ever

08-04-2013, 08:36 PM
I really enjoyed this. As opposed to Bronson and Drive, there really is no like able character and the film is very ugly and depressing at times..but I'd hardly call that a bad thing.

I think a lot of people had an idea of how this film was probably going to go and it ended up being something completely different...I can see why it's getting such a polarizing reaction but overall it was well put together and a film I look forward to revisiting.

08-05-2013, 03:43 AM
Can't say that I liked this film. Sure it's got a captivating visual aesthetic, but other than that it just felt somewhat boring and overly self-indulgent at times. Of the Refn movies I've watched (Drive, Bronson, Valhalla Rising and Only God Forgives), this was to me the least engaging by far.

08-08-2013, 05:34 AM
loved loved LOVED the cinematography and the way it looked but plot wise I found this kinda meh. I could not stand gosling's mother in this movie. It wasn't even really the character (as despicable of a character she was) the actress was just horrendous.

08-08-2013, 06:18 AM
I heard negative things about this movie before seeing it so I was prepared for the worst. I agree that the cinematography was beautiful, every shot felt like a single framed photograph and the colors were rich and vibrant. Still, the movie as a whole didn't quite reach the same level as Drive. I didn't mind it that much though, as this movie feels more like an abstract painting than a plot driven comic book.

Refn said that if Drive was cocaine, Only God is LSD.

With that in mind I feel like OGF managed to create that visually pleasing fuzzy dream, but, with a lack of control. The first 30 minutes of the movie were the best and if they had kept the psycho brother character (great actor btw) longer in the movie I think it would have kept the weight it started out with. The darkness of the sex industry felt like a great platform to build the movie on, but it got quickly replaced by a lighter Gosling-eyecandy-heavy vendetta story.

I also got a sense at times that the characters didn't quite feel developed. Gosling felt a little too relaxed and aloof with sudden outbursts that didn't fit the character. I'm thinking of the yelling of the whore/pretend girlfriend when he tells her to take off her dress; and the other scene when he slickly prepares for the fight wearing his three piece suit, to all of a sudden burst into the fight with no control at all. And it's supposed to be his training center?

Anyway, I like Refn and Gosling but I think they might be taking Drive's success and hard work slightly for granted.

I still think it was an entertaining movie with lots of potential from Refn especially, if he tightens his belt a notch.

08-10-2013, 06:05 PM
I just couldn't stand the fact that it was one of those movies where it completely fools the viewer in the trailer and the film. The trailer makes it seem as if Gosling's character is this awesome fighter and can kick some ass but all we get is a complete letdown and he gets his ass handed to him. That was the ONE part of the movie I was looking forward to. If you knew a guy in a foreign land named "The Angel of Vengeance", why the HELL would you even pick a fight with him? It makes no sense.

Since Gosling is so good at the engaging face, low dialogue, and has that mystery to him throughout the film.. for me, he made me want to keep watching. There are plenty of movies that seem like something and you walk into a completely different world.. but this movie did that all too well and pissed me off.

Drive on the other hand just has a whole different vibe to it. Just from the opening credits going with that song just sucked me right in. The style was more sleek, the acting was a hell of a lot better, and the out of no where violence was just great to me. The Driver character had many of the same aspects as Gosling's part in OGF, but they did it right in Drive.

08-27-2013, 11:17 PM
Like others have said, amazing cinematography... really a gorgeous film from a visual standpoint...

Everything else though was bullshit...

02-06-2015, 04:10 PM

02-06-2015, 05:05 PM
That is a doc that I definitely want to see. Even as I'm in that minority that enjoyed Only God Forgives and I'm extremely excited about the next film that is coming.

02-06-2015, 06:22 PM
I've been hoping for a U.S. release date of this doc for a while now! I found out about it by chance via a Spotify notification announcing that they had added Cliff Martinez's original score for it to their library. Needless to say, I've been listening to that soundtrack a lot.

I enjoyed Only God, too, so I am thoroughly psyched for The Neon Demon! I was getting really excited for it when Elle Fanning's casting was announced, but as of yesterday, Keanu Reeves was cast (http://www.slashfilm.com/neon-demon-keanu-reeves/) as well, so I couldn't be more down for this flick. Keanu and Refn?! Hell yeah. Between this and John Wick, it's the Keanussaince, baby!

02-06-2015, 11:33 PM
Keanu Reeves I often feel is an underrated actor. He gets too much flak for his lack of range. Yet, I think it's part of his charm as an actor. The fact that he's going to be in a NWR film with Elle Fanning, Christina Hendricks, and the future Mrs. thevoid99 just makes me happy.

02-07-2015, 03:07 AM
Keanu, I feel, is a good actor who probably took on some roles that his agent should've never let him go near. Part of the legacies of actors is the roles they don't take, the ones that don't play to their strengths. Not every actor has amazing range where they can morph into anything. Keanu may not have been great as an upper-class Englishman in Bram Stoker's Dracula, but I think there are few actors that can pull off the 'relatable, reserved action hero thrust into an insane situation' better than him(Speed, Matrix, John Wick, Point Break). He was also good in several movies in his younger days playing disaffected youths, like in My Own Private Idaho.

Anyway, Refn is always interesting and sometimes great, so I'm looking forward to this.

11-19-2016, 01:30 AM
Just watched The Neon Demon: blegh, horrible movie. I loved Only God Forgives, but this was a total misfire. Some nice visuals and music here and there, but on the whole, no. Mainly I didn't buy the idea that Jessie was this special beauty. And since the whole film hinged on that...
I'll probably buy the soundtrack though.