|Die Frankfurt-Tipp Bewertung:|
|Originaltitel:||Only God Forgives|
|Regie:||Nicolas Winding Refn|
|Laufzeit:||Ca. 89 min.|
|FSK:||From 16 years|
Julian (Ryan Gosling) lives with his brother Billy (Tom Burke) in the middle of the red light district of Bangkok. Thanks to illegal shops organized from their kickboxing club, the unequal brothers can enjoy a life full of luxury, sex and sin, while their mother Crystal (Kristin Scott Thomas) pulls the strings from a safe distance. When Billy intoxicates and brutally murders a prostitute, a retired policeman (Vithaya Pansringarm) as a self-proclaimed avenging angel sticks to his heels and lets Billy pay for the murder with his life. The death of her son calls Crystal to the scene. She's going to Bangkok to find out who killed her Billy. Now it's up to Julian to retaliate for his brother. But the fight against the silent revenge angel threatens to escalate soon and the streets of Bangkok's underworld will turn blood-red…
"Only God Forgives" is the second collaboration between Ryan Gosling and Danish filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn after the celebrated "Drive". Between the two movies there are also some clear parallels, which let us assume that the quality of the two movies is roughly on the same level. The almost hypnotic soundtrack, which was again composed by Cliff Martinez, a very own, atmospheric colouring and an extremely taciturn main character, who struggles with an almost stoical facial expression through a story that is sometimes very drastically violent. Already with "Drive" these set pieces have split the audience. While some saw the film as a real masterpiece, others found it a boring, blunted orgy of violence. But it's undeniable that "Drive" had something very special, something somehow unique, which unfortunately can't be said about "Only God Forgives" any more.
For not only that Nicolas Winding Refn seems to quote himself over and over again, he also obviously makes use of the work of other directors. So the nameless avenging angel, who, when he's not just spilling blood in the light of a bar and singing karaoke there, seems to have sprung directly from a David Lynch film. That's supposed to be original, but it's not. Moreover, despite all his efforts to provoke with his unadapted staging, Refn completely loses sight of one thing: the story of his film. This is only rudimentarily available and is only offered to the viewer in fragments that can't always be connected logically.
One might argue as an admirer of the director that Refn doesn't serve everything to the viewer on a silver platter and that you have to look under the surface to understand how great the story actually is. And if you read the interview with the filmmaker in the film's press booklet, you are quite inclined to agree, given the good ideas he expresses here. But intelligent, challenging ideas and an unadapted staging aren't enough to make a good film. "Only God Forgives" is emotionally completely undercooled, there is hardly any tension and the characters remain largely uninteresting. Only Kristin Scott Thomas, the ice-cold killer mummy, provides some very worth seeing moments. But even she can't prevent the thriller from being too bizarre at the end and thus becoming one thing in the first place: extremely boring. Anyone who sees Refn as one of the greatest geniuses of contemporary cinema will certainly not share this opinion. But also with great admiration for Refns movies like "Drive", "Walhalla Rising" and "Pusher" there is only one of me for this work: very conditionally worth seeing!
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