Can’t wait to see: “Only God Forgives”


Julian, an Englishman living in Bangkok, is a respected figure in the criminal underworld.  He and his brother Billy run a Thai boxing club which is in fact a front for smuggling drugs to London.  When Billy is murdered, their mother Jenna arrives from London to bring back the body.  Jenna is herself the head of a powerful criminal organization and is used to getting exactly what she wants.  She sets out to settle the score along a bloody path of rage, betrayal, and vengeance, hurtling toward an ultimate confrontation and the possibility of redemption.

Only God Forgives is not a movie for the faint-hearted, as the red-line trailer released just this week, makes only too clear.

Representing a re-teaming one of the currently most in-demand actors, Ryan Gosling, and the man who directed him in the critically-acclaimed Drive, Nicolas Winding Refn, it is hard, nosed, unabashedly full-on look at the anything goes underworld of Bangkok.

And gives both Gosling as Julian and Kristin Scott Thomas as Jenna the chance to exercise their acting chops and then some.

If Drive is any indication, Refn doesn’t employ violence for the sake of it, using it to further the narrative and the place of the all-too-human characters that inhabit it.


Drive (image via )


All of which means that while this kind of violence is undeniably confronting, and will likely have me flinching more than once, it serves a higher purpose than simply filling the movie with empty, bloody action.

It’s a merging of art house sensibilities if you like – although frankly every movie Hollywood produces should have the richly drawn well-conceived characters, rich dialogue and substantial narrative that routinely populate smaller budget films – with the sensibility of action films and should be welcomed by anyone with a brain who goes to the movies.

(Daniel Tenure has penned a well-written, cogently-argued article on just this very topic over at, which is more than worth your time and consideration.)

While it won’t of course be to everyone’s taste, you can at least walk into it knowing that while there is gore aplenty, there’s also a satisfying story that will offer some sort of exploration of the human condition even as it dives deep into the seedy underbelly of society.

Only God Forgives is scheduled to open in May this year.


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