Only God Forgives
Den/Fra/Thai/US/Swe 2013, 90m, Bold Film/Gaumont/Wild Bunch
Blu-Ray: Lionsgate (UK), Cert 18
A drug-smuggler in Bangkok finds his life disrupted when his mother arrives in town, urging him to find and kill the person or persons responsible for his brother's brutal death. An escalating chain of increasingly violent tit-for-tat revenge ensues...
The star and director of Drive are reunited, but anyone expecting more of the same might find themselves disappointed, or at the very least speechless. Where its predecessor looked for the good in a bad world, and even had something of a sentimental streak, Only God Forgives is unremittingly bleak in its world view, at least as far as its characters are concerned, and yet on a visual level there is just as much beauty to behold (in some stunning cinematography) as there is graphic violence. There is a very David Lynch-ian air to several surreal karaoke club-set sequences, whilst there is also very much a twisted morality at work as several wrongs clearly fail to come close to making any kind of right.
This is a film which will divide opinion cleanly between like or hate factions. I don't think I liked any of the characters one jot, and yet found myself liking and admiring the movie a great deal. I don't imagine it's one I will want to watch again and again on a regular basis, but I do see myself coming back to it one day, when the time feels right. It's that kind of film, and it leaves that kind of impression. It's certainly well worth 90 minutes of your time.