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I Feel Lucky

By Jayne Waterford
Copyrighted © Jayne Waterford, 6th June 2013.
REVIEW: "ONLY GOD FORGIVES" by Jayne Waterford

How do I know for sure this is a comedy? NO ONE COULD TAKE THIS SHIT SERIOUSLY! Expectations of Nicolas Winding Refn's "ONLY GOD FORGIVES", starring Ryan Gosling and Kristen Scott Thomas are as misleading as the pre-press for Samuel Maoz's "LEBANON" (2009). "LEBANON" was promoted as a war thriller made by someone who was actually there but turned out to be a homoerotic tale of four youths in a tank, rolling into combat for the first time. It was hysterical. This is not so funny. But like "LEBANON" it's the heist of good will which is funniest.

How do I know this is a comedy? Kristen Scott Thomas channels Jessica Rabbit from Warner Bros.' "WHO KILLED ROGER RABBIT" (???). In Thomas' realisation of Crystal she channels Jessica's evil side.

How do I know this is a comedy? Crystal is so dumb she lies to people about what the people themselves have done. I think she's bipolar. No one can be that rich from being that evil if they're that dumb. And the way she dies trumps it.

How do I know for sure this is a comedy? Julian

(Gosling) [he he *gosling* - ed.] is a gym owner who fights exactly like someone who has never fought before. He challenges the most famed martial artist in our gory tale to a fight and does exactly what I would... okay what I did, the first time I ever squared up against a boxer (, guy who was showing off).

How do I know this is a comedy for sure? The star's rapist, "brother," (see Shaw in "FAST AND FURIOUS SIX") knocks a pimp out with a bottle and then starts attacking women by flailing his arms like a windmill. The reprisals are endless and the cute, dead women are displayed langourously. Curiously we're so dulled by set dressing and choreographed violence that this one might not be a very effective clue.

How do I know for sure this is a comedy? Someone professional associated of film came into the theatre, sat next to me and laughed very, very hard.

Why doesn't anyone else generally know this is a comedy? Tragic oversight: not only is there no canned laughter but there is no defining funny scene, to clue us in to laugh, as the film opens. Who would know this was a comedy straight off? A fighter. The film opens with a Muay Thai show held in Julian's gym. The orchestra is perfect. There isn't any contact. But then

fighers think life is funny so maybe this isn't a comedy. Perhaps "ONLY GOD FORGIVES", which is a stupid name in itself, is crafted for two audiences. The cool crowd who orbits the cage and everyone else.

Lighting: Take one tube of red paint, squirt the entire contents down the left hand margin of frame. Take one screen print schemer and schemer the paint across the frame. And THAT is what this film looks like. It's too much. Of course. I mean Ryan Gosling's character Julian's character arch goes from being po faced to fretting his eyebrows. Of course he turns out to be a blameless golden boy in this funny old world.

"ONLY GOD FORGIVES" *sheesh* is a beautiful movie. We are treated with crystal clear street scenes in Bangkok the like of which you've never experienced before if you've never been there. And like Quinten Tarantino's "INGLORIOUS BASTERDS" (???) which plodded right up to it's inevitable conclusion, you must watch it.

I will probably buy this film and shelve it next to "ALEX CROSS" with the aim of one day watching it enough to laugh my guts out. It's going to be a peculiar day. 9/10

Copyrighted ©: Jayne Waterford, 6th June 2013.

Nicolas Winding Refn's
Release Date 18th July 2013
Category Comedy Thriller
Running Time 90 minutes (1 hour, 30 minutes)
Rating I don't believe they have appied to the classification board for a rating yet.
Director Nicolas Winding Refn
Stars Ryan Gosling and Kristen Scott Thomas.

Distributor The 60th Sydney Film Festival 2013

Official Blurb "A stylish revenge thriller where east-meets-west in the back alleies of Bangkok's criminal underworld. Julian, an Englishman is asked to avenge the death of his borther and settle the score along a bloody path of rage, betrayal and vengeance, hurtling toward an ultimate confrontation and the possbibilty of redemption.

Following the international hit Drive, director Nicolas

Winding Refn (who won the 2009 Sydney Film Prize with Bronson) reunites with Ryan Gosling for this brutal story of rage, betrayal and redemption.

Set almost entirely in a neon-lit Bangkok at night, each frame in this dazzling, muscular film, which was shot by Larry Smith (Bronson, Eyes Wide Shut), is a carefully composed work of art. Gosling, in a restrained and complex performance, plays Julian, an American who runs a Thai boxing club in Bangkok and who is clearly involved in the criminal underworld. When Julian's brother Billy is murdered, their mother Jenna (Kristin Scott Thomas) - the dangerous head of a powerful criminal organisation - arrives in Bangkok to collect her son's corpse. She also dispatches Julian to find his brother's killers, which pits him against the 'Angel of Vengeance', a terrifying cop called Chang (Vithaya Pansringarm) who is determined to restore order, and unafraid to use his sword to do so.

As the film patiently reveals more and more about their histories, these violent, damaged characters clash explosively, in the boxing ring and beyond. If there were any doubts before, with this Cannes Competition contender Winding Refn proves himself a master of the cinematic language of extreme violence." - The 60th Sydney Film Festival 2013 PR