However mystifying, or downright boring, you find the result, rest assured that the Refn faithful will swoon. Peace be with them.
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Style over substance doesn’t really tell the half of it: you can bathe a corpse in groovy light and dress it in an expensive suit, but in the end that rotting smell just won’t go away.
Only God Forgives is a hypnotic fugue on themes of violence and retribution, drenched in corrosive reds.
The movie is like one thin satiric lark inexplicably slowed down to the point of lethargy.
Refn has consistently delivered films that have subverted our expectations, and has proven himself a master at stylistic self-reinvention, but this feels like the first time he’s gone back to any particular well.
There’s no way to overstate the gorgeous look of this film, but the mannered dialogue and deliberateness of pace becomes less of an homage to Asian revenge films than a parody.
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.
The wallpaper emotes more than Ryan Gosling does in Only God Forgives, an exercise in supreme style and minimal substance.
The collision of violent spasms and art-film ennui leave the viewer’s brain bloody but unfilled.
Only God Forgives is the spectacle of a brilliant young director spinning out in style. It’s a beautiful disaster.