User Score
6.0

Mixed or average reviews- based on 199 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 54 out of 199

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  1. Apr 8, 2014
    8
    nicolas winding refn now is a complete director , a director who will say his own word in future !
    let us just hope that gosling's and refn's riap continue in more collaborations.
  2. Mar 31, 2014
    9
    This film creates a satanic and brutal world. It is unbelievably violent and disturbing but to create this 'evil' world, it might be necessary. Completely comprehensible why this film was criticized lot but positive that it needs more attention and, if it's possible, respect for creating such piece.
  3. Mar 31, 2014
    3
    No matter what the film snobs say about its artistic value, I was not entertained, the film was basically Ryan Gosling staring at his hands for half the movie and an Asian dude singing terrible Karaoke. Major disappointment
  4. Mar 28, 2014
    8
    Only god forgives is undoubtedly a very underrated film, Its beautifully shot, Very well acted and wonderfully directed, My only problems is that the gore just doesn't fit and just doesn't work, Though overall Only god forgives is a very well done film.
  5. Mar 17, 2014
    8
    A great violent art film , and like most art films it starts up great and ends disappointing , but the good thing about this ending is that it only lasts a few seconds before the the ending credits. I really liked this film , a slow motion fight in dreamy colors . For fans of Takashi Miike and David Lynch
  6. Jan 14, 2014
    4
    It's a real shame. The problem with the movie is that it doesn't know what it wants to be. It doesn't quite commit to being an all out revenge flick or a complete art house movie and we are left with an uneven mish-mash of the two. Props for having the best lighting I can remember seeing in a movie ever
  7. Jan 2, 2014
    0
    What an utter pile of garbage!! I only watched to the end to see if it explained why the hell there was a karaoke bar and the police inspector was impersonating Elvis... badly. I patiently watched the whole drudgery to be met at the end by the one and only sword wielding Elvis impersonator singing about someone who daren't pick a flower or some such pap! I've probably made this film sound more exciting than it is, so, word to the wise, don't waste your money!! Arty farty nonsense, but so terrible I did have a few giggles along the way. Expand
  8. Dec 19, 2013
    8
    This revenge tale is a little bit brutal and a little bit surreal. Director Nicolas Winding Refn and actor Ryan Gosling reunite for this visually dense look at the underbelly of Bangkok. Kristin Scott Thomas gives a perversely funny, as well as sad, portrayal of Billy and Julian's mother. However it is Thai actor Vithaya Pansringarm that steals the show. This film is eerie, atmospheric, ambiguous, stylish, sparse for me, every one of those describes a positive trait of the film. The critics may not love it, but I sure did! Expand
  9. Dec 18, 2013
    4
    I was able to stomach Drive. Maybe I even kind of liked it. There were some parts of Drive that kind of maybe even kicked a$$, like the opening scene So, I really wanted to like this film, or at least, at the bare minimum, make up my mind after I'd watched it, but I just could not do it. I had to bail out when the ridiculous mother enters the picture. I love that it's set in Bangkok, and all the aura that this could
    provide, but besides potential, which is never developed, there is
    little else of value. The charters don't treat the country with
    respect, and if this is supposed to be some kind of statement, it fails
    in all possible intended variations.

    All the ridiculously over done, tyring-to-hard scenes shot with weird
    lighting when normal lighting would have sufficed idiotic. The
    overexposed, deep colours of the hotel are not artistic but stupid.

    What the heck are Gossling and his crew doing in Thailand anyway?

    So many more complaints than this, but it's all the time I'm willing
    spend analyzing this very disappointing film.
    Expand
  10. Dec 15, 2013
    5
    Definitely an achievement and skillfully executed, Only God Forgives is intelligent but much less enjoyable than brainless action movies like The Wolverine and World War Z.
    I think this because director Nicolas Winding Refn concentrates more on the set design and lighting than the plot and character development. "Like watching a lava lamp for 90 minutes" said one listener too Mark
    Kermode's review show, and he's very right. I can't deny that it's visually striking and totally unique, but neither can I deny that most of the time I had no idea what was going on. Maybe if they included more than 40 lines of dialogue in the movie then I might have been able too make an educated guess on what the hell Ryan Gosling was doing. But it's Nicolas Winding Refn's trademark too be all arty and unique when directing movies, so 40 lines of dialogue it is. Which is a shame because the premise has the potential too be very interesting .
    Only God Forgives deserves too be regarded as a visual delight and masterfully designed, but I would not recommend it due to it being very hard too follow and overly abstract.
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  11. Dec 3, 2013
    0
    Seems like the kind of film that you either love or you hate. Personally, I hated it. I thought it was slow, boring, and features a very generic plot with very little dialogue. I wouldn't recommend it.
  12. Nov 18, 2013
    0
    Highly disappointed in this movie. It's a chick flick pretending to be some crime/ drama. Every time the camera is on Gosling it pauses, there is very little dialect the whole movie. This director tried to be "artistic" or something, but ending up ruining a movie. I was bored with it the first 15 minutes, kept watching, I wish I would have shut it off in the first 15, the ending was fuzzy,didn't make any sense, anyway a bore of a movie, I highly recommend if you have trouble sleeping, otherwise stay away. Expand
  13. Nov 7, 2013
    2
    Unwatchably bad. ONLY GOD FORGIVES is a ghastly mixture of boring and gruesome. Think David Lynch at his worst. Even a villainous bleached blond Kristin Scott Thomas cannot save this.
  14. Nov 7, 2013
    3
    I really wanted to enjoy this movie because I liked "Drive" a lot, Ryan Gosling is a really talented actor and Nicolas Winding Refn has a pretty amazing eye behind the camera. However, the film moves slowly and, ultimately, felt like it was going nowhere. It's even worse when it feels like there wasn't much to the script and Refn had to pad the film out by filling it with a lot of shots of the actors staring vacantly into the void. While the shots look nice and it has all the makings of being a dark tale of revenge, the movie just was too boring for me to find entertaining. Expand
  15. Nov 3, 2013
    0
    Only God Awful! I was a big fan of Drive, which was a visceral, arty flick although a bit odd and with not the best acting. So I thought I would give this a shot when I saw it in the Redbox. I couldn't get through it. This is one of the worst movies I have ever seen. Whoever did the editing deserves a permanent spot on MST3K. I wanted to Microwave the DVD and return it to the Redbox with $5 bill and a "You're welcome!" note. Expand
  16. Oct 31, 2013
    2
    I consider myself a very open-minded person, but this is truly a terrible film. It is not entertaining or interesting in any way. In other words it serves no purpose, neither as art nor entertainment nor even as titillating pornography, and it does not necessarily have any more aesthetic merit than 90 minutes of black screen would. It is a depraved film but I do not fault it merely for its depravity, I fault it because the depravity is extremely boring. I thoroughly enjoyed Drive and consider it one of the best films of 2011, which leads me to the conclusion that Refn is a relatively talented artist who is so incredibly pretentious that his entire career except for one fluke (Drive) has been one long egregious waste of his own abilities. It is a rare and fortunate occasion when he can suppress his own pretensions of genius and his obsession with making what he thinks are "grand philosophical statements" long enough to make a film that actually has some kind of humanity and/or entertainment value (Drive). Do not ever make the mistake of watching this film. It is not bad in an entertaining way that you can laugh at or make some interesting pseudo-academic analysis of, it is bad in a boring way. I am a little bit annoyed that someone as pretentious as Refn exists on this Earth. The reason I gave this film a 2 instead of a 0 is because of the technically proficient cinematography by Larry Smith. Expand
  17. Oct 30, 2013
    0
    What was it that I just watched? this is the most boring,horrendous movie I have seen all year, I thought nothing could be worst than the lone ranger, I was wrong and to those who give this movie good reviews.

    What's wrong with you people, the box office tells the real story.
  18. Oct 24, 2013
    5
    While watching early on, two words popped into my head.."PULP KUBRICK". The lighting, set design and compositions (esp the serpentine wallpaper, the nightclub with the red lanterns, the colored tile,etc.) reminded me of Kubrick. Did not realize until afterwards that Larry Smith worked on Eyes Wide Shut. And although individual scenes have power, the movie seems more of an excercise in style over substance (yes, I know, that old cliche), while referencing The Grifters or Resevior Dogs. Ryan Gosling broods alright given he only has about 11 lines of dialogue thoughout. Kristen Scott Thomas keeps in check a role that could have spiralled easily into camp. It's like an adaptation of a graphic novel nobody ever read, a movie that I can admire, but just not like a whole lot. Expand
  19. Oct 19, 2013
    0
    Absolutely, without a doubt, the worst piece of cinematic garbage I have ever laid eyes upon. I nearly left three quarters through, but stuck it out in vain hope that this pretentious, grotesque, inarticulate trash heap of a movie would redeem itself. Check out other users' and critics' reviews of this film, it'll be a perfect barometer for whether their taste is trustworthy (Hint: If they liked it, avoid their other recommendations). Nothing except the cinematography was of any redeeming value in this train wreck, but the rest of the film was so utterly terrible I couldn't bring myself to give it even a "1". Expand
  20. Oct 19, 2013
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I saw this film at Lincoln Center in NYC before it was released. I am a huge fan of Drive, but I heard this one would be different. I understand why some people didn't care for OGF, but I loved that they took it in the opposite direction of a typical revenge film. A macho protagonist that can't fight or take control of his situation was a fun and fascinating diversion. I think this film will eventually find its audience. Expand
  21. Oct 12, 2013
    1
    I can't believe I just paid to watch this. Dreadful. Good acting by the Thai cast. Nice photography. But my heavens. It's the worst kind of independent film. I would be interested to see reviews internationally as it is a Danish/French/Thai production. But this New Yorker feels like it's more like a certain kind of pretentious modern dance performance or piece of performance art. It is not a movie. It is a series of poses. Kristen Scott Thomas is dreadful. Expand
  22. Oct 8, 2013
    2
    Artistic and hyper-violent, but pointlessly slow to the point of predictability and in the end empty and without redemption. etc etc etc etc etc etc etc.
  23. Sep 25, 2013
    4
    This is one of the weirdest, slowest (it's ULTRA slow!), and most minimalistic movies I've ever seen. There is very little dialogue to tell the story, but there is also virtually no action, so on a whole, not much happens. And in addition the whole movie is so slow that it's almost like watching in slow-motion (I'm not exaggerating, you'll know what I mean once you watch it). And the ending was kind of stupid. It was also hard for me to feel for any of the main characters; to care about what happens to them.

    I guess this movie is meant to be either a weird piece of art for the artistically minded, or a strange psychological trip, or a mix of both. As far as entertainment goes however, it doesn't have much to offer...
    Expand
  24. Sep 24, 2013
    6
    Probably the most divisive and polarizing movie of 2013. Only God Forgives is not a bad film. It's not. But it's not great one either. Let's start with the good. The visuals and cinematography are breathtaking. Each shot is stunning and vibrant.It's a atmospheric film, and it's dark sinister vibe draws the viewer in. It's definitely an experimental film, and one better suited for art-house audiences. Now let's start with the bad. The film is extremely slow, and the narrative is rather weak. The characters are more symbols rather than truly fleshed out human-beings.You never truly feel invested in what's unfolding on screen. Overall I think OGF is worth checking out, if your looking for something "unique" and "different" than the norm. If your just looking for a casual film to watch, stay far away. My rating: 6.7/10 Expand
  25. Sep 21, 2013
    10
    This film is dedicated to Alejandro Jodorowsky. To truly understand the nature of the film you must know the work of Alejandro first. It is a beautiful poem about Karma, God Destiny and Humanity. It is not for amusment or joy. Loved every minute of the movie.
  26. Aug 27, 2013
    1
    Being the follow up to a film that has already acquired cult status is tough and Only God Forgives astounds in how horrendously it misses the mark. When Julian (Ryan Gosling) discovers that his brother has been murdered he finds himself seeking revenge as his mother (Kristin Scott Thomas) arrives in Bangkok to ensure 'justice' is served on the police officer who had her son killed. It's clear from the start that director Nicholas Wending Refn wanted to get as far away from Drive as he possibly could but the presence of Gosling proves a strong link between the two and therefore it encourages comparison. Only God Forgives plays like art house cinema and the aesthetics of the film are absolutely beautiful with Refn's obsession with neon giving the film an almost psychedelic feel. Regardless of the beauty of it, the film lacks a lead character with any real personality apart from the one Refn invites us to give him, a method that worked better in Drive when the story and supporting characters helped add detail to the mysterious driver. In this, Julian is surrounded by nameless goons and a mother so callous you gain little knowledge of who Julian is because the only person she really cares about is herself and what she wants. It's fine acting by Scott Thomas but one good character does not a film make. The most infuriating thing isn't that Only God Forgives fails to live up to Drive or the fact that its lead character is as hollow and lifeless as a tube of loo roll but that all the characters in it are so repugnant that watching them is unpleasant making Only God Forgives uncomfortable to watch in the first place meaning by the time the end comes around and nothing of substance has happened the film might actually make you angry. Expand
  27. Aug 26, 2013
    3
    Hot off the exceptional ‘Drive’, Nicolas Winding Refn’s ‘Only God Forgives’ proved to be a very disappointing follow up. Ryan Gosling plays Julian, the owner of a Thai boxing club (a cover for his drug dealing), who seems unusually uninterested with everything that is happening around him; and that includes his duty to avenge his brother’s murder. Clearly, Gosling watched countless zombie movies as prep work to get into character. In any case, the man behind it all was Winding Refn, whose vision was clear, but poorly conceived. He made a gruelingly violent movie, with very little going on beyond its bloody yet glossy surface. The plot was standard, and the narrative was not very intelligent; in addition, none of the characters are motivated by any real depth or meaning. They only act according to the way they were written; and I must say they were very thinly written. Being art directed and photographed to death, you can just imagine how visual striking this movie was; but even that isn't legitimate reason to waste your time on this lifeless piece of work. If you’re going to watch it for one thing, watch it for Kristin Scott Thomas’ scenery chewing performance as Ryan Gosling’s character’s diabolical mother, who urges him to take revenge. Her campy vampy turn, though cartoonish, was the only memorable thing on the screen, and that’s probably the best thing I can say about this movie. Too bad she didn't have more screen time. Expand
  28. Aug 23, 2013
    2
    A film gushing with art direction with no actual substance to compliment it. Between the little to no dialogue and the slow motion walking between rooms it becomes a drag, and by the end unintentionally funny. Scott Thomas provides the only window of entertainment in this movie as an incestuous wack a doodle of a mother. Other than that, this movie is just a headache.
  29. Aug 20, 2013
    4
    As lots of reviewers have said, an I agree, Drive is in my top 5 movies ever, Gosling is my favourite actor. He's aloof as ever in this but even his awesomeness can't save it. It's just not good, nothing about it is endearing or even likeable. It has it's moments but I just didn't care about the characters, the story, or even making it to the end. It's not all bad, It's shot, ok, which is a massive step down from Drive. It's not that bad, but I won't be watching it again. Expand
  30. Aug 19, 2013
    9
    This film reminds me rather a kaleidoscope, consisting of a pair of dim and bright colors, but not the art house. Does not mean that the film is bad. It simply is not for everyone.
  31. Aug 15, 2013
    9
    Brilliant film i just think people don't get it so the give it a poor score but i really enjoyed it the cinematography and soundtrack were great Ryan Gosling was very good and you are on the edge of your seat for the whole film whats not to like well worth a watch.
  32. Aug 9, 2013
    7
    Nicholas Winding Refn is fast becoming a director whose singular style is ensuring that a film carrying his signature is a must see. His last film 'Drive' was a stylised exercise in concise and exciting story telling, great acting and visuals at there cinematic best. Only God Forgives is an exercise in style for style's sake. This is not to dismiss it out of hand as I believe it to be a better film than most critics have suggested. The colour palette of the photography is very striking as is the art-direction. Performances are fantastic. In a role that is totally suited to him, Gosling is once again a commanding presence even with minimal dialogue. Kristin Scott Thomas excitingly cast against type is just a knockout. She plays the avenging mother with a ferocious tenacity that is worthy of Lady Macbeth.

    As with Drive the wonderful score plays its part and here integrates itself into the success of the overall film better than does the dialogue. In fact it is the screenplay which is the film's weakest card. The slight plot is full of ambiguities and whilst the overall thrust of the film is hypnotic this has more to do with the acting and setting than the story itself. The film is in fact verbally challenged.
    There is also much violence, some of which is gratuitous, and one scene in particular had me squirming in my seat. The conclusion, however, is refreshingly satisfactory.
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  33. Aug 6, 2013
    9
    Fans of ‘Drive’ and even to a certain extent Ryan Gosling can look away now because this is Nicolas Winding Refn’s film. It is closer in tone to Valhalla Rising and he hasn’t pandered to the audience expectation, anyone expecting Drive 2 will probably be disappointed. Uber stylish, lavish colour palette, very few words and some graphic violence make this film feel like Terrence Malick meets ‘Enter The Void’. There is the odd clichéd frame but for the most part the cinematography is stunning and aided by the rich colours means the scenery and atmosphere are as much a part of the film as any of the main characters. Gosling, as Julian, only speaks seventeen lines in the whole film and what is lacking in dialogue is made up for in mood, the film is starkly tense, but his performance isn’t the strongest in the movie. That accolade is shared between Vithaya Pansringarm as Chang the sword wielding angel of death and in a completely out of character turn by Kristin Scott Thomas as Julian’s twisted, foul mouthed mother. You will have not seen her like this before and may not again; even Refn didn’t think she would agree after reading the expletive laden script. As with previous Refn films the music plays a big part and here Cliff Martinez’s score enhances the overall feel to great effect. Murder, prostitution, redemption, vengeance and the afore mentioned violence will certainly put some off, as will the seemingly lack of story, but if you are prepared to go with Refn’s vision you will be rewarded with one of the best films of the year. Expand
  34. Aug 6, 2013
    2
    10 minutes into this film I asked my friend "this is boring" to which they replied "maybe it leads to something, hopefully". Once the end rolls around everyone in the cinema started laughing; either because it was actually humorous or that it was so awful it became laughable.

    As a cinephile I try to find the good in all films and make an effort to understand the plot (if any). This film
    truly is a struggle to sit through. It has been a very long time since I saw a film I wanted to walk out of (my friend paid so I felt obliged to stay).

    There are so many bad aspects to this film. I understand what the filmmakers were trying to convey (at least I think I do) but it is so incoherent that you will find it difficult to appreciate this film. What I disliked is a follows: little dialogue which in two occasions cuts outs whilst music is only heard, long stares, awkward sexual encounters which serve no purpose, more long stares, scenes jump all over the place requiring the viewer to make sense of this mess, incoherent plot, even more long stares, I could go on.

    The only positive aspect of this film was the violence. Particularly Ryan Gosling's fight scene which is stupidly interrupted as the camera changes to show a golden muay thai statue, then back and forth again.

    I cannot recommend this to anyone. If you do see it and likewise hate it you only have yourself to blame.
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  35. Aug 5, 2013
    0
    This does not qualify as to be called an actual film. Completely revolting would be an understatement. It is amazing how nobody seemed to notice just how cringe worthy it was.
  36. Aug 5, 2013
    4
    Ryan Gosling plays a crook Bangkok. When his brother is killed, his mother (Kristin Scott Thomas) arrives to demand revenge. This was directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, who worked with Gosling in "Drive." I pretty much hated that movie too, but at least it had some velocity. The pacing here is glacial (with the long pauses eliminated, it would be 20 minutes long). It's painfully pretentious and intensely serious. What little brutality from the villain is almost always off-screen. The saturated, stylized look references Chinese director Kar Wai Wong, so while it looks cool, it's just tedious. The only thing to recommend it is the amazing chameleon performance by Scott Thomas. Expand
  37. Aug 4, 2013
    0
    One might be forgiven for expecting something as wonderful as Drive from this.. however minutes into the film any notion of this is quickly abandoned. What little artistic styling presented is washed away with every cast member giving performances more wooden than a garden shed.
  38. Aug 4, 2013
    9
    I really really loved Only God Forgives. Winding-Refn is about the only director who is artistic, controversial and faithful to his own style Some viewers who watched Drive will be expecting to see a 'similar' sort of film, but only god forgives is much more violent, arty, sparse and well... Amazing. I can understand that some critics absolutely hated this film, but the fact there is hardly any dialogue makes the film much more atmospheric! The best performance comes from Kristen Scott Thomas, she is hilarious in a dark mess-up kind of way, with some brilliant lines within the film. Ryan Gosling's acting has always been of a high quality, but in Only God Forgives, his performance is much much more refined and silent (Literally!!, he only specks 22 lines in the whole film).
    Only God Forgives deserves viewers with an open mind who love violence, aren't easily offended and simply LOVE art-house films...
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  39. Aug 3, 2013
    6
    There is no doubt that this film is raw, unnerving, visceral, unrelenting yet aesthetically beautiful. Some times the story will become muddled into the overbearing violence this film has. Despite that, there is something about this film that remains with the viewer. And I think that's the whole point.
  40. Aug 2, 2013
    7
    I really enjoyed the movie. It was nice to see something where the director had full control and visually its a stunning movie. I don't know if I could recommend based on the extreme violence and the dialogue made me cringe in some parts. its certainly not for everyone, but that's it wasn't intended to be and that's not a bad thing.
  41. Aug 2, 2013
    0
    One of the worst movies I have ever seen, very disappointed. Any one who watches this and likes it has serious mental issues, my unknown self-published book is a trillion times better.
  42. Jul 29, 2013
    3
    Only God Forgives is terrible. After watching it, I really wanted to watch Drive. What this movie does is it takes those scenes in Drive where people stare at each other down long hallways, and turns it into a 90 minute movie of people staring, glaring, occasionally yelling, and sitting in a world that is predominately made out of Red, Black, and purple neon. Despite the stellar cinematography and another stellar electronic score from Cliff Martinez, this is an ugly film. There's over the top violence just for the sake of being over the top. Possibly the worst part about this disaster is that it's a relatively simple movie, but all these random shots and confusing, is-this-actually-happening moments make it a jumbled, hard to follow mess. It almost suggests there are two versions of Julian, one that wears the white shirt and one that wears the black, and that they are his divided subconscious. THAT is a good idea, but it doesn't expand on anything, and makes this severely limp follow up to Drive a true bummer. The Pros: Good visuals, solid electronic soundtrack, some base ideas are smart. The Cons: Ryan Gosling is barely utilized, and just isn't very good because he doesn't have much to work with, it was filmed with a sh*tty camera so it looks weird, there's violence for the sake of violence, it's a typical "artsy" movie that falls totally flat, weak script. Better luck next time, avoid this one. 30/100 Expand
  43. Jul 27, 2013
    5
    Yeah, it's pretty bad. The script is just... atrocious. BUT it isn't as terrible as the reviewers say it is. As others have noted, it does a great job of capturing a Lynch-ian dreamlike vibe. That kind of atmosphere is rare in cinema these days, so it deserves some respect for that alone. The cinematography is top notch and Cliff Martinez's score is subtle and fantastic. Like "Drive" it has the claustrophobia and nightmarish inevitability of a Grimm fairy tale or Greek tragedy, but what's missing here is a heart. There's no one to root for, no struggle to identify with. The film is destined for cult status and I know several cinephiles who are already crazy about it, but I'd say this one is for die-hard Refn fans only. Expand
  44. Jul 27, 2013
    0
    Ryan Gosling has become a parody of himself in this relentlessly terrible film in which god will not forgive. Can someone not look at the script and tell it was awful?
  45. Jul 27, 2013
    5
    This movie really dissapointed me and seemed just like a worse version of drive. The slow pacing of the movie and lack of dialogue make it hard to watch. There are really no relateable characters in the movie so i found myself not giving a what happens to them.. For once i agree with the critics, there wasn't much good about this movie.
  46. Jul 24, 2013
    2
    Vithaya Pansringarm is the batman of Thailand in this insipid, "art-movie" wannabe, from Nicolas Winding Refn. Objectively this movie is laughable with unrealistic characters, and violence (Refn wanted it to look realistic, but it is exactly the opposite). The plot is not much to talk about, basically a boring revenge scenario. The visuals are nice, dream-esque, but nothing new or nothing that would add to the content of the movie. I think most good reviews are very pretentious, but go see it, and decide it yourselves. Expand
  47. Jul 24, 2013
    9
    This film is truly a breath of fresh air in a world full of dense, over elaborated modern plots. The cinematography is by far the most gripping aspect, yet the characters run a close second. Not bogged down by dialogue, the characters are actually able to express themselves and their respective code of ethics, or lack thereof, through there actions. Refn also has an uncanny ability to tell a story strictly through the use of visuals (which makes sense considering this is a motion picture after all). Expand
  48. Jul 24, 2013
    4
    What worked for "Drive" doesn't work for "Only God Forgives". There's very little story and character development here and the drawn-out pacing, more so than what was used in "Drive", amplifies how little is going on. Without the brilliant neon cinematography from Kubrick's D.P, Larry Smith (Eyes Wide Shut) and the incredible soundtrack from Cliff Martinez, there would be nothing the hyper-violence would warrant seeing. A very, very polarizing film. Expand
  49. Jul 24, 2013
    9
    I found this movie as a piece of art, more than a traditional film. Sure, its increasingly violent, but that adds to the intensity of the film. It was a joy to watch, and I could totally understand why critics don't like it. There wasn't a lot of dialogue, but the dialogue given was the right amount needed to tell the story. Sure, its not for everyone, and it does have its flaws, but its a wonderfully beautiful film to watch. Beyond the story. The ending was weird, but besides this, I recommend it. Expand
  50. Jul 24, 2013
    1
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I wanted to give this movie a zero, but couldn't bring myself to give that score. Kristen Scott Thomas represents the only redeeming aspect of this film. It had no flow or real sense of narrative. Between the acts of ultra violence and sexual innuendo, the movie carried by lots of standing around and Ryan Gosling wearing the same stupid look. Totally disappointed. Expand
  51. Jul 23, 2013
    4
    I feel like I just ate a turd sculpted by Michelangelo. Cinematographer Larry Smith did an incredible job making one of the most gorgeous flicks I've ever seen. Unfortunately writer/director Nicolas Winding Refn tried way too hard to make an art house film that made absolutely no sense whatsoever. This movie was boring, slow, pointless and borderline racist. I feel like I might have enjoyed if I was really high. Expand
  52. Jul 23, 2013
    0
    Being a huge fan of Drive (my #6 fav) I was excited for this movie but it's almost like Refn is parodying himself. This movie is so ridiculously bad. If you were to cut out all the scenes of people staring at things this could be a 10-minute movie. Also, it's about as funny as "The Room" it's unintentionally hilarious.
  53. Jul 23, 2013
    7
    After watching the movie once, I either feel like the movie kind of failed or I didn't really get it. My interest in this movie was from watching Drive, but this movie wasn't like Drive. Talking about this movie... I loved the soundtrack. It was fantastic (like Drive's). Also I really enjoyed the cinematography: Lot's of colours, cool shots and angles, et cetera. The story and progression is what bothers me. I just felt like there wasn't much substance at all in the movie--however I am reading from other viewers that this movie purposely had this kind of effect so the viewer can "figure out the details" themselves. I'm thinking I am going to watch the movie again sometime in the future and see if I can pick up on things I might have missed. But at the moment I don't know if I can really recommend the film. I don't think I'm a fan of movies where the majority of the content is something I have to figure out, if this movie happens to be one of those. Then again, this might be my first encounter with such a movie. Expand
  54. Jul 23, 2013
    10
    Absolutely brilliant. Masterful directing and lighting. Symbolical dream scenes and slow atmosphere give a movie another meaning. Kristin Scott Thomas was absouletely amazing in her role and also Vithaya Pansringarm. It is great, go see it, love it. Only reason I can think why it`s under a such a heat is because of it`s subliminal political subplot that is very sensitive topic for Americans.
  55. Jul 23, 2013
    4
    Beautiful colors, beautiful music, beautiful shots, beautiful actors. Isn't this a lovely way to waste an hour and half watching a movie with nothing going on, interrupted only periodically with some senseless violence and culminating of course with nothing? Meh.
  56. Jul 22, 2013
    10
    Its all about how you look at things. The reason why people have slain the movie is because they all expect it and watch it from a perspective and in a way that movies are typically shown, like for instance, Hollywood blockbusters and Drive. This movie though breaks all the rules of cinema and delivers fresh, original, brutal, beautiful content that makes a new standard in movies. Its like a puzzle at you must solve yourself. People has seen this movie and take it as another average arthouse failure flick. Well if you dont take the movie for granted. And go beyond the details, and try to put the puzzle pieces together, you will find a more complex and a more realistic and fantastic brutal story. People that rate this movie bellow 7 and says this movie failed, has failed themselves. Expand
  57. Jul 22, 2013
    3
    Despite the less than stellar reviews (or maybe because of them) I was prepared to give this film a chance especially because Drive was so good, but where Drive was riveting Only God Forgives was just boring and likely to send you to sleep. The film is directed as if the actors were been paid by the amount of words they spoke. It's a pity because the film looks amazing and the soundtrack by Cliff Martinez (again from Drive) is top notch, but ultimately this just becomes fancy wrapping for a turd of a story. Expand
  58. Jul 22, 2013
    10
    Wow! This is dramatic. I just saw this movie last night with a group of 8 total. All they knew was Ryan Gosling & the director of Drive were back. 2 of them downright hated it, 2 didn't care for it, 2 loved the cinematography, & 2 (including me) loved it. I thought it was an awesome experience. I say experience because this is not your average Hollywood spoon-fed movie. You have to think. I loved that the director played with all of my preconceived notions. I think this this movie plays more on the viewer's experiences than the movie plays itself. Find your smartest, most cultured friend who knows how to think for him/herself and watch this movie. You may regret it, but at least this movie made you feel something, which is more than I can say for 90% of the movies out there. Expand
  59. Jul 21, 2013
    0
    First take a five gallon bucket. Add stinky rotted vagina slime and some diarrhea together and stir in the bucket.
    Next take out your wiener and urinate into that bucket lightly covering the diarrhea and vagina slime.
    Meanwhile ask several of your friends over and have them all take turns pinching huge massive loafs into the bucket. When they are done stir up the mixture with a tree
    branch while adding six to seven old stinky rotted oysters. Continue stirring while you extract the pound of sausage you've been storing up inside of your own anus or sphincter or butt hole and place it into the mixture. Then rocket squirt your own diarrhea into the bucket followed by seventeen cups of acid filled vomit. Mix that all together and then let it bake in the sun for approximately 2 hours. After that let it sit outside on your porch to rot for about 3 weeks. When you return and look into the bucket you will see that this mixture has turned into the movie ONLY GOD FORGIVES. Expand
  60. Jul 21, 2013
    9
    i am honestly shocked that this movie was almost unilaterally slammed by critics. i read the screenplay and i thought it was a great story w incredible potential, not to mention that drive is among my favorite movies of the last decade. having read most of the early reviews i went into the movie expecting it to suck. not the case. maybe i loved it because i read the screenplay and had a little more backstory to work with. whatever the case, i thought it was awesome. Expand
  61. Jul 21, 2013
    10
    This is clearly a controversial film. When I saw it, half the theater walked out and the other half gave it a standing ovation and stayed through the end of the credits.

    I think that if you treat the world Refn has created as its own self contained universe, whose characters are doomed to repeat their lives in perpetuity, you can begin to understand how to approach Only God Forgives, a
    stunning, horrible, disgusting, flawless, self-indulgent masterpiece. Expand
  62. Jul 21, 2013
    0
    If I say the movie is terrible, I'm too kind. It has a 10 minutes plot spread in slow-motion across one and a half hour. Okay, some might say it's not about the characters and how they act, it's about the substance, how it's shot and various metaphors (god, redemption and so on). Yes I understood all of them but even those are childish and already seen in dozens of movies. Avoid losing 90 minutes in which you can do something better (like watching how the grass grows). Expand
  63. Jul 21, 2013
    8
    If you are going into this movie thinking it's going to be like Drive well get that out of your head. Only God forgives is way different film first off cinematography and lighting are absolutely beautiful. So if you like that this will look like art to you Only God forgives is a dark story that will play with your mind. The cast give great performances and as your watching the film it has a great soundtrack just like Drive had. So if your looking for a different type of movie and one that's bit strange this is it. Collapse
  64. Jul 20, 2013
    7
    Only God Forgives is certainly not the movie that it was made out to be at the Cannes festival, but it also delivers some disappointing punches that don't live up to expectations. Refn's lastest effort proves to be a strong-but-weak film, almost clinching at what he was trying to say with the film but not quite making it clear. Gosling's silent-psycho act along with Kristen Scott-Thomas's act make this film quite enjoyable, along with a riveting soundtrack and amazing visuals. Where the film delivers in characters, sound, and visuals, also comes with a sub-par script and billions of plot holes. Only God Forgives will deliver to all die hard Refn fans, but mainstream audiences will try to burn this one at the stake. Expand
  65. Jul 20, 2013
    5
    Can I tell you it confused me when this film was booed at festivals? Can I also tell you I was distraught when I realized why some people booed it? The only problem I find in Only God Forgives, is that it's boring. That's it. That's the real reason why I can understand this film is mixed. Coming from Nicholas Winding Refn's last neo-noir film, Drive, I was pumped when I first saw the trailer for this movie. Ryan Gosling reinforced the 'Man with No Name' character in Drive and I absolutely loved his performance. But take that awkward silence in parts of the film, multiply that by at least 5, and there you have the scenes in Only God Forgives. Take the good-willed nature of the main character, erase it completely, and leave an almost silent character who seems more mad and evil than being the protagonist. Basically speaking, take what was dear and good in Drive, and leave it as a dull and emotionless art film. Gosling's performance as the slightly disturbed Julian is written over by the character's lack of good dialogue, and no reason to root for him at all. The narrative sounds good on paper, but feels dragged painfully slow against scenes that are considered art, which as well cut short actual thrilling scenes. Now don't get me wrong, Refn does keep you entertained with some real cringing violence. Unfortunately, it's not even that grueling to keep you entertained or full-on disgusted. There are some scenes worth mentioning; the trailer-hinted fight with Gosling and Vithaya Pansringarm and... actually, that's the only real highlight I have. In conclusion: Unlike many rude festival attendees, I think God and me can forgive Mr. Refn for this boring art piece. Though I can sadly say Refn has turned into the filmmaker who attempts to stick to what he did before, but got a little too carried away. Only God Forgives is a visual gritty art film, plagued with dull and lifeless characters who hardly interact in scenes at all, causing many boring moments, and leaving us only slightly awakened to whatever the hell it was trying to tell us. Expand
  66. Jul 20, 2013
    0
    Nothing can save this horrendous, disgusting, painful, piece of smelly trash called "Only God Forgives". Besides being completely incoherent, the movie is like one big stare contest among a group of idiots. It is going to be tough to beat this for worst movie of the year.
  67. Jul 20, 2013
    0
    Only God Forgives is just a movie we all had high hopes for and those hopes were slashed when the movie was released. It's just a movie I hate to hate. I do admit, the director did brilliantly with Drive. But here it seems like he took the format of Drive and tried to milk it of everything we loved. The movie is has too much blood and gore, first of all. I have nothing against B&G, but it feels like they were trying too hard. The acting was mediocre at best. The dialogue formed a story that would have been good if it was executed properly. Oh, and the ending was just bad. This is just a movie that would have been good if they didn't try making a Drive 2: Bangkok. Sadly, it was just...bad. Expand
  68. Jul 20, 2013
    8
    Going into this film I was excited and after watching the film I really enjoyed it. Ok it wasn't Drive and there were times where the movie dragged, but with that being said this film is visually the best film I've seen all year and Cliff Martinez's score is pitch perfect. To me the standout performances are from the gentleman who played Chang and Kristen Scott Thomas. Overall this is a film that will make you think for awhile after it is over. A- Expand
  69. Jul 20, 2013
    0
    Let me begin this review by stating that I loved Drive. I was able to overlook the "all style no substance" element of the movie and take it for what it was. That being amazing art direction, great soundtrack, and decent acting. Only God Forgives, on the other hand, was one of the most terrible movie viewing experiences I've ever had. I approached the movie with an opened mind, despite the awful reviews. I was expecting another movie on the same wavelength of drive, and I figured I would be able to find enjoyable elements of the movie. I was extremely mistaken. This movie was absolute filth. The scarce dialogue makes no sense. The actors are merely emotionless robots. And the director seems to have a weird fetish for stomach churning goriness. If you consider yourself a cinephile who appreciates a good art-house movie, take it from me. EVEN GOD WILL NOT FORGIVE THIS MOVIE. If anyone deserves an Oscar for this movie, its the person who made the trailers. Expand
  70. Jul 20, 2013
    10
    Nicolas Winding Refn’s newest film is a biblical epic reminiscent of the Old Testament but set in modern Bangkok, Thailand. It roots as traditional Crime Thriller that journeys into a story of wrath, vengeance and chaos when clashing two Muay Thai ‘warriors’ into a climatic fight.

    The film is almost empty of any dialogue but is full of religious metaphors and sexual symbolism. Cliff
    Martinez perfectly blends eastern-oriental and deep electronic sounds into the amazing score. The sound of loud church organs heightens the intensity and really makes it feel like religious icons are present. Every frame and every scene is executed beautifully and the Once Upon a Time in the West-like pace just made it that much more intense.

    The film holds a set of ruthless and extreme ‘heightened reality’ characters which provide the biggest impact in the overall experience of the film. We see men insanely murder innocents, lash out with rage and attempt to restore balance through interesting uses of sharp objects. In her own extreme, Crystal (played by Kristin Scott Thomas) is very explicit in her words and also provides most of the dialogue. Her performance is amazing and may be the audience’s favourite.

    This is a very very intense violent film which had me on the edge of my seat. Like the title suggests it is a film about redemption and spiritual relief within the antagonist and the world around him. I was very much relieved and satisfied by the time the film ended. It does test the audience’s limits and offer both a thought provoking and immersive experience and may be Nicolas Winding Refn’s most well crafted and artistic work yet.
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  71. Jul 20, 2013
    8
    Only God Forgives B

    It is kinda a tough one to crack. I'm still trying to make head or tails of the experience, but it's definitely not as bad as the critics claim that's for sure. It's a peculiar beast, and even amongst Refn's curious filmography.

    I couldn't help but feel it's an amped-up version of Drive though. It was shot, paced, and acted almost similarly. It is pretty much the
    worst movie for any Refn newbie to get into. But any Refn fan would feel right at home and i have a hard time thinking any Drive fan would be letdown. This movie ain't a flop like Fear X.

    I admit Refn kinda got a little carried away. He indulged too much in slow motion the movie felt sluggish at parts and if you think the Driver is too quiet in Drive then think again because that movie is like Glengarry Glen Ross compared to this one. The acting (Though i wouldn't say anybody actually acted in the movie) was ok at most part with Vithaya Pansringram becoming the surprising standout.

    Beyond those nitpicks as well as the questionable ending i didn't have much of a problem with the pic and actually the movie looked way prettier than Drive. All the stylish shots in Drive also worked wonders.

    All in all i wouldn't lie to say Refn could have made a better follow-up but this entry is still a worthy one. Have no worries guys.
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  72. Jul 19, 2013
    7
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. So, Only God Forgives, that was...ugh...ya? In all honesty though, if it hadn't been for the english dialogue and a rough ending (the 2nd draft of the script has the better ending), this would've been a masterpeice. If all you have seen from Refn is Drive, dont bother watching this until you have at least watched Bronson or Valhalla Rising. This film is more akin to those than Drive. This film can be majestic at times and devastatingly hallow at the same instance. ToKristin Scott Thomas and Vaaraj... Sorry great actor dude, these two give wonderful performances. Like most of the rest of the film, silence and body movement is key. The words mean nothing, but the movement of the bodies is whtat is the true delivery. Add that to the excellent, ne, stunning art design and cinematography and you have the prettiest film of the year. The look is like a canvas touched by a master. All this said, the picture is not perfect, but comparing it to drive is not quite right, it is more in the league of Valhalla Rising. The problem may be with the cut which was released (thats my bet) but in any case, it seems that several glaring faults damage this work. Even with its beauty it still seems confused as too its nature. The dialogue sounds tilted and forced, but the movement seems natural and poetic. This dichotemy pulls you from the film, into analysis mode, which does more damage than good, which is the opposite of what Valhalla did (minimalize dialogue to the point where you're watching a kinetic painting). Furthermore, the further we get through the film, the more disjointed it becomes. That said the film will be a delight for any fans of Refn. Twisted, surreal, artsy fartsy and experimental. Any fan of Refn will love this, anyone who is a fan of stylish films will love this. Expand
  73. Jul 19, 2013
    2
    As one of Drive's biggest fans I was so disappointed by this. I very often disagree with critics, but they are right on this one. Only God Forgives sucks. Plain and simple.
  74. Jul 19, 2013
    1
    Let's get right to the basics, shall we? At one point in "Only God Forgives," the cartoonishly dark revenge saga starring Ryan Gosling, a man is terrorized by having sharp chopstick-like blades rammed through both arms, then both legs. Only God Forgives is a treasure trove for cinephiles, which may be the problem. Refn's influences dominate when you most want them to fuse into a personal style all his own. The film never coheres the way Drive did. There's motion but no momentum. Gosling, meant to be a blank page for us to write on, often looks merely blank. Where Drive shrewdly mystifies, Only God Forgives stupefies. You can see its gears grinding. But I'll always hang on for a rare talent like Refn. Even when he stumbles, he leaves you eager to see what he's up to next. Expand
  75. Jul 19, 2013
    10
    Eye popping, original, haunting and just scary, Only God Forgives is the best movie of 2013. After hearing so much about this movie from the negative reviews left and right and how violent it was, I sat down, relaxed and prepared myself. First off, i will say two things about this film-its not as violent as the critics have hyped it up to being, (even though its still brutal) and is definitely, definitely not for everyone. This is arthouse filmmaking at its best. Nicholas Refn is a brilliant film director. The way he conveys a story on a silver screen canvas is so haunting and irresistible that you find yourself guessing the movie after its done. I was extremely excited for this movie, then the reviews lowered my expectations a bit. Then i saw the movie. The cinematography is so beautiful; state of the art. I think the critics were expecting something like Drive; neo noir with a lot of sleezy gangsters doing dirty deeds in dirty alley ways. They weren't expecting a slow haunting thriller about a gangster trying to cope with his lifestyle. I can understand this film getting C's, and even D's, but F's? From professional movie critics? Give me a break. This year has been plagued with unfair reviews from those cheeseballs. This is one of them. They say that this film is confusing, and to that I say This film is simple enough if you turn your brain on (something critics and audiences tend to avoid when going into most movies nowadays) Some said the Asian actor who portrays Chang (a ruthless, psycho cop who unlawfully tortures criminals to satisfy his own needs) but really its about Julian (Ryan Gosling) throughout the film we see several dream and other types of hallucinations from Julian as he is haunted by this stranger, who we later know as Chang. But thats part of the story. The movie treads ground on how terrible parenting can lead to a life of darkness and emptiness. Above all, Kristen Scott Thomas steals the show. Her performance of the wicked, self indulged mother of Julian sent chills down my spine. She dominated every scene that she was in. When I watched the Schmoesknow review on this movie, they said you know nothing about these characters. Its funny since they call themselves film lovers and they don't even pay attention to whats in front of their eyes. If you pay carefull attention to this film, you realize all the scenes that involve the characters introductions beautifully tell us their story without leaving one line of dialogue on the screen. Filmgoers nowadays are so used to flashbacks and word-of-mouth stories that they expect that with every movie they go and see. But Only God Forgives has the balls do something a little different. It takes a different, more haunting approach to telling the character's story through their slow actions rather than conversations. This is a slow, quiet and chilling movie. I would almost call it surrealist in a way. The last half hour is extremely thrilling, but not in a pulse-pounding action sense; its more chilling as if you don't know where the film will leave you, and that right there is a true mark of a great movie. I say go see it, but i don't recommend it; its not for everybody. You'll either leave the movie as I did, or join the majority of the critics in neon hell. Expand
  76. Jul 19, 2013
    10
    Only God Forgives directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, an intense film, aesthetically perfect with beautiful colors, beautiful performances, a directorial no flaws, a wonderful movie, perfect, a beautiful soundtrack, not a fim suitable for everyone though.
    This is the real masterpiece of Refn.
Metascore
37

Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 39 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 39
  2. Negative: 19 out of 39
  1. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Sep 6, 2013
    20
    What they're missing here is a story good enough to warrant visiting the same uncomfortably dark place and characters worth caring about. Instead, what we get is a film that boasts tons of atmosphere and flashes of Refn's visual style -- as well as an admirably unhinged performance from Kristen Scott Thomas -- but little else.
  2. Reviewed by: Damon Wise
    Jul 29, 2013
    100
    Experimental and uncompromising, Winding Refn and Gosling’s Drive follow-up is a tripped-out riff on the crime family movie in which The Grifters — literally — go to hell.
  3. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Jul 25, 2013
    25
    Ugly, gore-strewn and, ultimately, ridiculous.