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Only God Forgives Is Adam Truscott’s Favourite Gosling Film This Year

Screen Shot 2013-07-19 at 21.09.25

The One Where Gosling Wants To Fight

Only God Forgives has cult film stamped all over it. CULT. It’s probably stamped in blood, following a single swipe from a steel blade. Such is the clinical style of a film that just can’t find an audience.

I, of course, loved it. I was always going too. Crime films are my genre. Throw Gosling in, too (far more into the role than you’ve been led to believe). Throw in a jakuza vibe I’ve not seen done as well since Black Rain. Throw in Martinez’s genius score. Refn’s dark humour.

It had “hit” all over it for me. And, just the way I like it, most of you are going to hate it.

First let me tell you a little story. We’ll call it “How Much Did AT Want To See Only God Forgives?” The answer? Quite a lot, actually. I’d seen that it was out in the States today, and that it was on video on demand on the same day.

So, what choice do I have? I download a new US iTunes account. Faff around getting an US iTunes gift voucher, (it doesn’t like your UK card, so don’t try). Then I download.

I don’t know if that’s dedicated or standard for readers of this site. I mean, we’re all pretty keen on films, right? Live for them etc. So I think you’ll forgive my indulgence. Either way, I’d never done it before. It felt a little bit naughty, a little bit bad.

I needed to see it, though. I had too. The trailer had me in a shaking fever. I needed to see how it all pieced together. How far into the film does he “wanna fight”? How much of the scenery is left when KST is on-screen?

And I’m glad I did.

I’ve got a new Gosling film in my head now. One to mull over until I get steel booked up with Place Beyond The Pines. Before I rediscover Drive (again).

So why was my initial reaction; “I can understand why people at Cannes booed it”?

Well, put simply – you ‘aint getting any answers from this film.

You won’t know what is a dream, what is real. You won’t know the relevance of Gosling putting his hand inside someone (!), until you think about it. The film wants you to think. And not in a Pines kind of way, where the film isn’t dictated too by Hollywood linear structure.


This is Refn singing an ode to David Lynch – karaoke style. (The Thai people see it as a quasi-religious experience, apparently). So don’t be too puzzled when the film breaks into the odd musical number.

There is a thread on IMDb that is about the huge numbers of people walking out of various screenings. One theory is that people are following the Cannes hype. Another is that people are expecting Drive 2. I find it all very odd. The film is 85 minutes long. I haven’t seen Drive for a few weeks, but I’d say there’s more violence and death in OGF, so… Why the lack of connection?

Well, it comes back to its inaccessibility for me.

Several times characters look out at the camera. They then see another character looking back – that in all probability isn’t actually there. In one of these instances, in most in fact, the character is foreshadowing something that will happen later on. It’s all very surreal. As mentioned, Lynch would lap it up. I half expected someone to phone Home and have themselves answer the phone. Or for a character to just change their appearance into someone else entirely. It’s that kind of film. And some people will find that just a little pretentious. Or, as I like to call it, “wanky”.It’s too beautiful a film to be wanky, mind. The lighting on this film is exquisite. Two films in a row now, (there, there Pacific Rim – you got some bits right!). Both with stunning use of colour and lighting.

In one scene, Chang is talking, or more likely looking… And three red lights caught my eye in the distance. Bouncing back and forth. What is that? Well, as he leaves, you realise it is the red police lights on their car. Very subtly. Very well implemented.

Several of the sets are spot on, too. The Thai boxing club looks fantastic. The film is destined to grow a cult following of people who go on and on about how good Refn’s decisions are.

Another look on IMDb shows the budget. $5,000,000. That’s a third of Drives. Less than Pines, too. That. Is. Mental. That elevates Refn into genius status for me. He’s made one of the prettiest films of the year on a ridiculous budget. It’s crazy that Del Toro has spunked hundreds of millions on a stunning looking film, with no script, when Refn has produced this for a fraction. I know what I’ll be watching again.

And I will watch it again. $14.99 to rent on US iTunes versus $6.99 to rent? No brainer.

At 85 minutes I may even put it on again straight away.

Remind me to look away when the guy gets crucified with knives, and has his eyes cut out, mind.

When Refn was directing he kept telling Chang (iconic), “You are God”. And that simple quote means I need to watch it again with just that in mind. To see the relevance of Gosling clutching his hands all of the time.

We have ourselves another minor classic, here. Keep picking the brave ones, baby goose. Even battered and bruised with bulging eyes, the boy done good. Even when he’s bad, he’s good. Here’s to 2014 and him probably showing he can direct the fuck out of a film too. He’ll probably sing the title song. The good looking bastard.

Can’t wait to see what these guys do next. I’ll keep my US account (if they let me!), just in case…. I also can’t wait to see it confuse the hell out of people. I’ve just chosen the categories and spend five minutes debating it. I deliberately left off Action, and went for Horror, Romance and Western.

I stand by my decision.


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