Friday, June 14, 2013

Style Over Substance?

Reviews for Nicholas Winding Refn's 'Only God Forgives' skew negative. Like this from Jon Frosch:

Only God Forgives succeeds to some extent as a pure stylistic exercise, with a few fine Lynchian moments blurring reality with erotic and violent fantasies, as well as some amusing Freudian undertones. 

But it never casts the spell that it should (the 87-minute running time feels longer), and Gosling, as magnetic a screen presence as he is, desperately needs to get out of the taciturn-bad-boy mode he's been stuck in for the last few years (Drive, The Place Beyond the Pines, and now this). 

Luckily Thomas is on hand to liven things up, tearing into her sadistic, foul-mouthed, sexpot Mommie Dearest role with infectious glee and the slightest touch of real feeling. 

And this from Shaun Munro:

Easily the most vocally-received film of the festival so far, Refn’s latest was met with colossal boos and jeers at its world premiere (though remember, so was The Tree of Life), and even its defenders will likely agree that it confounds the expectations set by the director’s last film. This isn’t to say that Only God Forgives should merely be Drive redux, but what Refn has served up here is an almost entirely superficial and wholly obtuse film that clearly aims to provoke its audience to infuration.

Even positive comments sound funny. From Peter Bradshaw:

Only God Forgives will, understandably, have people running for the exits, and running for the hills. It is very violent, but Winding Refn's bizarre infernal creation, an entire created world of fear, really is gripping. Every scene, every frame, is executed with pure formal brilliance. 

Is that good?

The YouTube comments haven't been very positive, either.

As for myself, it looks gorgeous. Camera, lighting, editing are very confident. Bradshaw got it right, this is pure formal brilliance. The story might not be there but 'Only God Forgives' should be intoxicating to watch.

Here's the latest trailer.


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