Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

09 August 2013

Only God Forgives

The most interesting thing about Only God Forgives is its poster art.
The movie itself is stilted and ponderous; the sentiment is all overwrought and unearned; even the violence feels unwarranted and gratuitous. Nicolas Winding Refn (whose Drive we all liked so much two years ago) has attempted to make a film about color and light, but there isn't enough variation between the colors and lights for these elements to say anything. He is also attempting to make a Kim Ki-duk-style crime film, but Only God Forgives is only ever second- or third-rate Kim Ki-duk.

Before I say how much I hated this movie, I do want to say that Kristin Scott Thomas is excellent in this picture. I see any- and everything she is in and she is superb in all of her movies, but she absolutely tears into this role and it is totally awesome. She is a scheming, horrible human being with zero redemptive qualities, and she absolutely plays it to the hilt. It helps, too, that her character is the most fleshed out by the director. The other two main characters have so few lines that I never felt like I understood them even a little bit.

There is a lot to complain about with Only God Forgives, but for me the worst part was the terrible performance at the film's center by Vithaya Pansingarm. He walks like a toy soldier throughout the city of Bangkok, but NWR doesn't seem to mind, allowing his camera to linger as we watch Pansingarm walk around in his wooden way. This awkwardness is almost comical at times, but by mid-way through the movie I wasn't laughing any longer. I was just angry. What an extraordinary waste of time.