Only God Forgives, directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, is a brutal tale of drug dealing, murder, and retribution in the seedy underworld of Bangkok, Thailand. Starring, Ryan Gosling, this film envelopes its' audience in sordid and grotesque violence and betrayal as hit after hit is called in the brutal world of drugs, Muy Thai Boxing, prostitution, and revenge.
Only God Forgives is not for the faint at heart. Where the plot is, as in so many films, the good guy versus the bad guy, in this story it is a very corrupt and egotistical cop caught between his own machismo and how he imagines himself as the hero fighting evil. Here, he is pitted against foreign drug dealers - two brothers who are ruled by their evil, American mother who seems to have a "far too warm" relationship with her own children.....yes, it goes deep.
This film is sickening. It may, very well be, the most brutal film I have ever seen. There are rib cages sawed right down the middle, wrists cut-off, beheadings, slashings and gore at a level I am not able to reach back and find anything more disturbing in my memory.
Yet, Only God Forgives is a good film. i enjoyed it, thoroughly. I was raised on slashers and Michael Meyers and love good shoot outs and, so I have to write, this movie kicks ass. It is some brutal violence but is so insightful and realistic in all its' horror that it reminded me how good life can be. Life in this movie is dark and horrible. I recommend it for any graduating class of high school students around the country for it is a good, thick taste of what can go down when you step away from walking the path of good.
Long takes in the cinematography and very dark brothels with close ups of the stars in long, shadowy halls, seemingly staring into voids of nothingness between each shift in the storyline, aid in presenting the eeriness in the lifestyle that these characters chosen to live. Once the gates are open, the blood starts flowing and the film delves into the hellish dark and that which is morbid at every turn until its' horrendous ending. Again, this film is not for the meek.
I pair this film with one of my favorite Rhones I have sampled, this year - 2010 La Tarasque Cotes Du Rhone from the Rhone Valley, France. This blend is, mostly, grenache with some of what, tastes like to me, syrah blended in. It is blood-red much like that of what would come out of your chest when you are sprayed with a sub-machine gun. The name, Tarasque, comes from a monster in medieval times that ravaged the rhone valley with brutality and heartlessness. This is a perfect fit for watching, Only God Forgives....available, now, on DVD or Pay Per View.