Only God Forgives

He's a really bad boxer.
"Time to Meet The Devil."

Hello again friends, it is once again time for The Tagline. I know I promised true holiday horrors today, but you'll have to wait a bit longer to realize my darkest nightmares. Frankly speaking... some things are just TOO terrible. I'm afraid dear readers, afraid of what I will do in the pursuit of your entertainment. So in the meantime, I offer up something less horrific, and not as seasonal, while I steel myself, body and mind, for what might be the worst thing I've ever watched... again. Instead, let me reach into my bag of stupid, and pull out a movie that was bad, but not in a particularly holiday way. I'm talking about Only God Forgives, a film starring Ryan Gosling as Julian, who runs a muay thai club in Thailand that's actually a front for a drug operation. His brother brutally murders and rapes a prostitute (and probably in that order too the twisted sack of shit) and then is killed in turn by the prostitute's father, with the consent of the fucked up Thai police, who play things kinda fast and loose as you can probably guess. After the death of Julian's brother, his horrible crime boss mom shows up to run the show, and tells him to go out and even up the score. This is about what you can sort out as regards the plot of this movie.

Lots of this here. Neon lights man.
If the star of the movie and its aesthetic are initially familiar to you that's probably because director Nicolas Refn (that's not a typo that's just his last name) also had Gosling star in the 2011 film Drive, which is notable for being a much less shitty movie than this one. While similar in a superficial way, there are distinct differences between the two films. One of them is that the plot of Drive is coherent, and you can figure it out because people are talking and you can hear them. In Only God Forgives, there are huge stretches of silent characters staring in neon lit rooms while music plays. If you think that is weird and not especially interesting, well you would be spot on the money. It is not very interesting to see the same repeated scene of Julian doing some weird thing where he like looks at a prostitute through a curtain or something. I could say that the characters interact, but that doesn't really feel true. The characters are weird, impersonal mannequins, alternating between imitations of different human emotions, and saying words near each other. That's how the whole movie feels, disjointed and deliberately alien, as if the director cannot possibly insist hard enough that THIS BOYS IS ART. DO YOU FEEL IT FLOWING LIKE A MYSTICAL RIVER.

This is Julian's awful mother.
That's true of the whole thing. I feel like my experience would have been similar if I'd been watching a screening of Drive, only with the director jerking off in the front row because he thought it was so great and wanted everyone to see how much he was enjoying his own genius. The movie is overindulgent in the worst way possible, and there is little to be enjoyed. The characters are not just unbelievable though, they are also consummately unlikable, and so here we have a movie that is as ugly as it is self-indulgent. I mean I guess it's pretty to look at, but everything about it feels so nihilistic and miserable that you can't possibly enjoy any of the scenery or ambient music. What you do is watch Ryan Gosling have weird scenes with his mom who is a little bit too familiar if you ask me, and then he gets the shit beat out of him, while his prostitute girlfriend watches, and it is all very surreal and screams LOOK HOW ARTSY WE ARE.

This is Julian's hooker friend.
I don't recommend watching it, unless you want to see exactly how to make a movie really shitty. If you do then totally watch it, you'll be well informed. Here is a movie that is boring, overdone, unpleasant and incredibly obscure. It has a muddled plot, vacant scenes, and characters that don't even resemble real people. If they were real people though, you'd hate them.

That's it for today! Join me again next week, when the Christmas nightmare begins!

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