The two main reasons I was so compelled to watch Only God Forgives so eagerly were the unanimity of the awful reviews it has been receiving all over both by the critics and the audiences and also because I loved Drive and the teaming up of Nicolas Winding Refn and Ryan Gosling excited me even more.
*This Review Contains Spoilers*
All I want to say to the fans of Nicolas Winding Refn is don’t listen to the critics – they don’t know what the movie is about at all.
A misunderstood masterpiece is what Only God Forgives is. We have Julian(Gosling) the gangster , he has killed his own father and he always regrets that , I understood it when the camera focuses on Gosling’s bare hands a couple of times in the movie where he makes a fist. Chang (Vithaya Pansringarm) on the other hand considers himself’s as God, or I should rather say is portrayed so – A God of execution . While we always accept and come to the conclusion that he is the Devil he is not . Its the mother – Crystal (Kristin Scott Thomas) . God Only forgives is a Poetry , a poetry because we see Gosling’s character being caught in the crossfire of the Devil and the God, also because we are seeing it from the Evil’s perspective. So we have the Gangster and the Policeman – The God and the Devil , and they are fighting.
Explaining the ending Julian’s hands are again focused as he takes off his regrets in-front of him. He now wants to be forgiven . And only the God can forgive him , henceforth the end stages the sword cutting off his hands. He is then relieved off all the bad memories he had because of his mother. The whole movie is like a limbo between metaphor and real-life. Nioclas Winding Refn has at numerous places shown about Gosling trying to get off his guilt by using his hands to finger those whores but then again it was him in the stance of Limbo so to take his frustration off he actually brutally destroys two random people (this surely will be considered as an unnecessary scene) . Another question that people will come up asking is why did Gosling put his hands into his dead mother’s wounds – I manipulated it as Billy (Julian’s brother) was molested by her mother (getting it by the penis references she makes). Julian, being the little brother, looked up to both Billy and his mother, and was strangely jealous because of this. Later when he grew up, he realized what happened, and blamed his father for not stopping it. That is why he killed him. The end when he physically reaches into his mother cutting a slit in her stomach , is interpreted as him trying to take back the power, where he finally managed to “enter” his mother.
The above explanation is not understood by many people and that is why they are hating the movie so much. But for me , the movie has just raised my respect for Nicloas Winding Refn .
The movie gives a hidden message to the viewers – Even though you have done lot of sins in you life even though you have been bad , still you can be forgiven.
The movie feels like you are in a dream state , the visuals are beautifully stylized and the choreography is top notch. And the music score by Cliff Martinez is mesmerizing , it helps to take a dip into the essence of this great movie. The score is the best of the year so far. The performances are award worthy.
Final Verdict : Only God Forgives for me was one of the best movies of the year. I know it can’t be understood by everyone , even I had to go through discussion forums to understand most of it. But once you get it you will love it. Not everyone’s cup of tea. But am pretty sure it will get a cult status once it gets into everyone’s head.
Rating : 4.5/5