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God may forgive, but movie critics aren’t that kind.
After his breakthrough Hollywood hit “Drive”, you’d think critics would be falling all over themselves to be the first ones to praise Nicolas Winding Refn’s follow-up, the Bangkok-set “Only God Forgives”, which once again stars his new BFF Ryan Gosling as a foreigner in Thailand who takes on the underworld in order to avenge the murder of his brother.
It’s a bloody vendetta, as it turns out. Too much, perhaps, for some critics.
The Wrap has a nice selection of the more scathing reviews delivered upon the film after its recent Cannes screening. They were, er, not forgiving.
The Wrap’s own Sasha Stone writes:
What his film amounts to, in the end, is the careful work of a serial killer. Refn isn’t literally killing women, but he’s indulging in one bloody killing after another, and practically licking the knife afterwards.
Oh, come on, a serial killer? It couldn’t possibly be that bad, could it?
Hollywood Elsewhere‘s Jeffrey Wells goes even further, referencing some bathroom habits a couple of times:
Movies really don’t get much worse than Nicholas Winding Refn‘s ‘Only God Forgives.’ It’s a shit macho fantasy — hyper violent, ethically repulsive, sad, nonsensical, deathly dull, snail-paced, idiotic, possibly woman-hating, visually suffocating, pretentious. I realize I sound like Rex Reed on one of his rants, but trust me, please — this is a defecation by an over-praised, over-indulged director who thinks anything he craps out is worthy of your time. I felt violated, shat upon, sedated, narcotized, appalled and bored stiff.
The film does have one high-profile defender, though. Peter Bradshaw at The Guardian calls the movie “brilliance” and gave it 5 stars.
There’s also apparently an issue with Ryan Gosling’s performance. Or, according to the critics, lack of performance. The actor, we’re told, only has around 17 lines in the entire movie, and if you’ve seen the trailers, one of those lines is, “Wanna fight?”
Well, you wanna?
Anyways. Critics, am I right? What do they know. Stuffy, overpaid dorks.
“Only God Forgives” doesn’t open Stateside until July 19th. Then we can find out for ourselves if “Drive” was an anomaly or if the critics just don’t “get” Refn.