Brilliant or repulsive? An existential crime thriller or a shit macho fantasy? Cannes critics violently disagree about Nicolas Winding Refn's vengeance thriller "Only God Forgives".
The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw first appeared quite overwhelmed according to his reaction on Twitter:
"I have just watched Only God Forgives (dir. Nicolas Winding Refn)... I... It... I... *eyeballs roll back into head, falls over*"
Which as it turned out in his five-star review was a good thing:
"Nicolas Winding Refn's Only God Forgives is a glitteringly strange, mesmeric and mad film (…) 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." Read review
Screen Daily's Mark Adam's is equally appreciative:
"If Refn’s Drive reveled in its sense of pace and purpose, then his new film embraces a slower – but equally graceful – style, with the camera tracking artfully through ornately decorated darkened rooms or over wet, glistening, Bangkok streets. (…) there is much to enjoy and appreciate in the sheer cinematic verve, intelligence and elegance that makes Only God Forgives an immersive and brutally intriguing film." Read review
The Playlist's Jessica Kiang is mixed, but especially applauds the film's aesthetics:
"The fights, the maimings, and the deaths are all pretty great: from an exposed rib cage to a beautifully shot death scene against a set of white-draped windows, the balletic grace of Refn’s choreography and compositions comes into its own when violence is involved. The film’s very best point is its music: the score is so wonderful and electro-lyrical and buzzy and synthy (and even occasionally BRAAM-y) that were a case made for Refn’s visuals simply being an accompaniment to a 90-minute track by Cliff Martinez we probably wouldn’t argue too hard." Read review
"Only God Forgives is produced by Lene Børglum for Space Rocket Nation
Read Screen Editor Wendy Mitchell's interview with Nicolas Winding Refn in FILM Digital Cannes Issue 2013