God is a righteous judge, a God who displays his wrath every day.
- Psalm 7:11
I had a lot of problems with Drive
. Only God Forgives
feels like a film that was tailored made for me. "Hey, Will! Do you dislike my dumb machismo dialogue? I will cut 50% of it" or "Hey Will! Do you not like Ryan Gosling? Well, I will cut down his dialogue and make him more of a supporting character", etc. I liked this a lot
As for the film, this is Refn's most mature work yet. Yes, there is violence, but it never became gratuitous nor did Refn revel in it like he did with Drive
. The story is relatively simple told in a straightforward way through visuals without too much dialogue. I do hope that his next film, I Walk with the Dead
, is completely silent, because, although he usually uses dialogue sparingly, there is always a character (in this case Thomas) that just says the most incredulous things that just doesn't gel with the rest of the film's tone. However, her character doesn't hold me too back from liking the film. She is, after all, Satan, while Vithaya Pansringarm is God.
& Spring Breakers
, Only God Forgives
is about one race taking over another race's culture. Julian (Ryan Gosling) & his brother, Billy (Tom Burke), run a drug ring in Thailand under their controlling mother (Kristin Scott Thomas) who lives in America. Their cover is a boxing gym. Fitting, since neither of them are boxers. They rather watch the native Thais beat themselves to death than actually engage with them. However, Billy, on one of his violent rampages, rapes and kills a 16 year old Thai prostitute (btw, Thailand, if you don't know, has the most underage prostitutes, some as young as
. Chang (Vithaya Pasringarm), a police chief, finds Billy and the father of the prostitute. He lets the father kill Billy, then cuts off the arm of the father to punish him for pimping his daughters. This sets off a chain of events that results in escalating conflict between the drug ring and the police force. It's Whiteness Versus the Natives, the barbarism of one culture clashing against the "barbarism" of another culture. The mother wants those that killed her son and anyone related to the person dead (revenge), but Chang wants people to atone for what they have done (justice). In between these two are Julian, who struggles between what he is told to do and what he should do. Is he an outsider or is he an insider? Does he submit to the law of Thailand or does he abide to his own country's law?
Of course, there is a lot more to discuss. I need more time to dwell on this film.