Off the heels of Drive which looking back split a lot of people, mostly due to his violence, but one that I enjoyed quite well, another Gosling/Refn combo film seemed like something that wouldn’t fail to entertain. A spiritual in-tone sequel, Only God Forgives ends up being exactly what critics of Drive thought it to be. It’s focused so heavily on shock value that it overshadows anything else that possibly could make the film great.
Refn seemingly only knows how to direct Gosling as a mute who fights and kills to get anything across. I know he thinks it’s honourable and cool to have a silent assassin type, but it eventually just becomes trite and more of a parody than something you can actually take seriously. Kristin Scott Thomas’ character is the exact same as Gosling, but instead of violence I’m supposed to taken aback by her choices of words and phrasing. Refn is basing all of our reaction to this character by us being shocked when a 50+ year-old woman says something like “cum dumpster.” It, of course, doesn’t work at all and is very laughable at how bad it is.
There isn’t much to take from this positively, I guess the fight scene(s) are fine for what they are if short and anti-climactic. Anything “thought-provoking” that Refn is obviously striving for never resonate and it all remains a schlock mess of a B-movie. It’s a shame that such a film had to succumb to this and fall to such depths.