Thursday, January 9, 2014

Time to meet the Devil.

When we watch movies, especially good ones, we're supposed to feel something, right? If the characters are desperate, we should feel that longing, that urgency. If they're in love, we should feel the connection and passion they have for one another. Whatever it is, whatever the emotion, it should resonate within the audience. It should mean something. But what if the characters are hopeless? What if everything they're doing is pointless? Should we feel that, too?

I don't know what to make of Only God Forgives. I basically hated it, but maybe only because I wanted to love it. 

I had heard all the talk about how shitty it is, how impossibly pretentious it is, but (at the time) it didn't matter. The people saying that were assholes. Those people who booed it at Cannes? F--king morons. This was the follow up to Drive [review], a movie that blindsided me with how f--king cool it was. The fact that I thought that could happen again, only shows who the real asshole is, ya know, the real f--king moron.

According to IMDb, this flick runs exactly 90 minutes, but it felt much longer. Worse, if you were to take out the copious amount of staring (sometimes in slo-motion mind you, for f--k's sake), you could likely knock that runtime down to a solid 65 minutes. Again, if it meant something, fine, f--king stare away. But in the end, it doesn't. It's frustratingly hollow and borderline ridiculous.

The story, what we're given anyway, is pretty straightforward. After a drunken night that ends with the f--king and killing of an underage prostitute, an American scumbag is murdered by the father of the dead girl. Aww. Soon, Dead Guy's mom swoops into town on her broomstick, demanding vengeance for her deceased first born (who, according to mom has a big dick?). She expects her younger, possibly mute, possibly retarded son Julian (posterboy Gosling) to do the dirty work. About that...

See, at this point, even if we've seen Julian stare at his hands more than once, I was still on board. Even if you have to kind of sift through the impossibly deliberate pace, there's enough intrigue early on to sustain you. But eventually, all the randomness and awfulness adds up to something I found very hard to give a shit about. These are bad people, I get it. Justice, whatever the Hell that truly is in this movie, will come. Fine. But why does it have to be so f--king weird?

But beyond how strange it all is, what ultimately sunk the ship was how each individual could barely be considered remotely human. Seriously, how the f--k is any of this supposed to matter when humanity apparently doesn't exist in Thailand? Who do we root for/identify with? I mean, the cop dude, when he wasn't tearing up some tasty karaoke jams, was literally slicing bitches open. I appreciated how Julian was a conflicted dude, but the whole I-think-his-mom-is-going-to-suck-him-off vibe, negated his worth as a character. Oh, and that incestuous bitch? In a movie filled with despicable individuals, she is hands down the absolute worst. 

Speaking of the absolute worst, here are the Yays and Boos. I had to tell these two at least ten times, the movie is not on 'pause' guys, it's...artistic.


I'm going to start screaming GIVE ME THE DRESS and see where it leads.
Yaaaaaay!

  • I really enjoyed that early cagematch pitting Dad against Bro. Very cool.
  • Give it up for Mai, everyone, also known as the strongest dinner date in the history of time.
  • The score! Not as awesome as Drive by any stretch, but awesome nonetheless. If I ever take up stalking bitches, I now know what to put on my iPod.
  • As much as all the staring made me want to tear my own eyes out, I always appreciate when the unblinking indifference is the answer to a question. Did you do this? (stare) Do you know who did? (more staring). Brilliant.
  • That one dude was pretty loyal, even if horribly misguided. She said to kill them all. 
  • And finally, the violence. Not as grisly as the word on the street may lead you to believe, it's still pretty insane. It's not actually fun to watch, but at least during the gore, the movie seems to be headed somewhere for a brief moment or two.
This isn't a still picture. I'm streaming the movie. Just wait. He might blink.
Boooooooooo!
  • So, the next time a hooker ties me up, I'm going to do my best to watch her diddle herself. Instead of, I don't know, imagine someone slicing my hands off.
  • Fact. I had to pause it at the 16 minute mark to get a drink. Two things had happened
  • What the Hell is with the weird all-cop musical interludes?
  • Speaking of, why does no one move? Ever.
  • Kristin Scott Thomas. Now, it's not her fault, but this character may be a tough one to shake. Her response to her son raping a 16 year old girl? I'm sure he had his reasons. Classy. She also drops the term cum-dumpster, which seems marginally offensive, no?
  • Oh, and did Julian reach inside of her? Like, actually in her?
  • I actually kind of liked the scene, but that bit where Officer Yoshimitsu essentially says, Girls, close your eyes. Men? You might want take a good look may have gone too far. The eyes? Really? Both of them?
  • Want to fight? That's cool. But getting your ass completely kicked moments later? Not so much.
  • The ending. Sing us out, Captain Swordsman. Sing. Us. Out.
  • And finally, Twitter. I posted something essentially saying that I wasn't exactly enjoying Only God Forgives, when some random person messaged me to defend its brilliance. She suggested I was lost because I wasn't artsy. To paraphrase the great Rod Tidwell, I'm all art, motherf--ker! Isn't it obvious?
Maybe this movie is brilliant. Maybe Twitter girl is right. Shit. Maybe I'm really not smart enough to understand what writer/director Nicolas Winding Refn was going for? Maybe staring at your hands repeatedly represents the evil nature of man and the horrible things they are capable of. It's so...deep.

Oh, no. Then I go and write all this shit knocking it when, clearly, I'm too stupid to really get it? Whoa. 
Suddenly, I feel really bad about this gigantic mess that wasted so much of your time. I'd ask for your forgiveness, but there's no point.

Only God does that...
Hopefully audiences do, too.

15 comments:

  1. Yes, this movie was AWFUL. I was like you though. I wanted to love this and had thought every poor review was written by someone who obviously didn't understand film. Yeah, I was the asshole.

    Here's my review:
    http://afistfuloffilms.blogspot.com/2013/11/lets-review-something-only-god-forgives.html

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    1. Your review scared me. Good God were we on the same page. Spooky.

      I honestly thought that like, everyone wasn't getting OGF prior to having watched it. Like i'm some kind of genius or something. But, after seeing it? Wow. At times it was almost impressively bad. Like a huge inside joke or something. Had Julian not been Gosling, or had Drive never been made, I'm convinced no one would like this. No one.

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  2. No, this movie is not brilliant and Twitter girl is wrong. You can't defend this by calling it 'art.' The pacing is fucking terrible. If I wanted to stare at something stationary, I'd go to an art museum. I had high hopes for this, but alas, I was one of those assholes who hated it too.

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    1. I love how were all assholes here. Well, maybe not Sati and Alex, but screw it. They're assholes too!

      The pacing is seriously bad. I felt like time had actually frozen. Or at least that my Netflix account had.

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  3. "possibly mute, possibly retarded son Julian" - oh yes. Seriously this is my win for Worst movie and worst performance by an actor last year, I'll shall publish my list next week. I mean Gosling wandering around, creeping out the whores was funny but I too had to get a freaking drink to get through this film.

    I'll give it to this one - that is the only movie that is mentioned both in negative and positive categories for me - the score was incredible and the cinematography was great. Everything else sucked ass.

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    1. I'm looking forward to your list. Gosling = pure gold.

      Oh yeah did I love the score, too. So dramatic and heavy...it was just perfect. I also loved the cinematography, but I didn't want to feed in to how 'beautiful' the film was, because while that's all well and good, looking amazing is simply not enough. Not from the people involved here.

      Ass was definitely sucked.

      Delete
  4. I liked the flick a tad more than you, but this is definitely my favorite review of the film I've read. Everything you said is true - the slowness (HURRY THE FUCK UP ALREADY), the karaoke, the end - and I had a blast reading you rip it apart.

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    1. You know, I hate to be so negative about films that people work so hard on, but my loathing comes from my complete adoration of everything that it takes to create and tell a story.

      This movie is a mess. And it could have, in fact - SHOULD have, been much, much better. And because it let me down so much, it must be made fun of. Those are my rules.

      My incredibly childish rules.

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  5. Even though I actually kinda liked this, I just can't disagree with anyone who really didn't like it as I can totally see why. Great write up as well, really enjoyed reading it!

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    1. Whoa, another supporter of OGF! I like that. You and AW are certainly smart enough peeps, so I can't fault either of you for liking it (or 'kinda' liking it).

      But my God what a mess.

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  6. You just closed the door between me and Only God Forgives forever. I know everyone hates this one but I'm really happy it exists because the reviews are so much fun – as is yours. Awesome stuff! :D

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    1. Haha. Thanks.

      It's short enough that you still might want to see what the fuss is about despite all the negativity, then maybe write your own hilarious review perhaps? Or, like you said, close the door and move on. Either way.

      Buuuuttttt...you might agree with Twitter Girl and absolutely love it.

      I can't believe I'm telling you to see a terrible movie. What a jerk.

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  7. Whoa! *Stepping on the brakes*... I fucking love this movie! It's like Winding Refn just said "f*ck you audience" ... it's like a neon nightmare fever dream... but, you're not dumb for not liking it. It's one of my favorites of 2013, but I also would recommend it to no one.

    Also, you didn't Yay the frying pan scene? Or the sword appearing out of thin air?? And "cum dumpster" is never a Boo.

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    1. So, the reward for my undying devotion and affection is Winding Refn telling me to f--k off? What is he, every girl I knew in high school? *rimshot

      I love that you really like it, but wouldn't recommend it to anyone. That's pretty much perfect.

      I wrote down 'frying pan' but five days later had no idea what that even meant anymore. Cursed failing ability to remember. As for the sword...I honestly have no idea what you're talking about. Was if before or after he stared at his hands?

      Hmm. Maybe you're right. It does have a cheerful connotation, doesn't it?

      Delete
  8. I've been on the fence about whether to see this movie. It sounds like it's a good one to miss.

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