After Nicholas Winding Refn’s last critic-dividing offering Drive, we approach his newest offering Only God Forgives with a kind of hesitant excitement. Being a Drive fan, this film has been on my mental ‘must-watch list’ for a while.
While Only God Forgives is certainly more unashamedly arthouse than Drive it maintains the same bare dialogue and attention to detail that marked Drive out as something out of the ordinary. So the dialogue is sparse (and that is perhaps a tentative way to phrase it); Ryan Gosling as Julian (the films poster boy) has only 17 lines . . . in the entire film!! While the other actors fare better in the line tally, the film plays heavily on the strength of Cliff Martinez’s soaring score which pulls the films along it’s increasingly dark and violent course. The score plays unrelentingly over the silent screams of many a victim of the films vengeful plot, creating a brilliantly detached feel as the characters shout in Tai with their pleas unheard by the audience or the unrelenting vigilante cop Chang (Vithaya Pansringarm).