Only God Forgives
Release date: July 16, 2013
Record label: Milan Records
For his follow-up to 2011's vibrant crime flick Drive, Danish provocateur Nicolas Winding Refn went a bit too far over the edge of genre with Only God Forgives. Once again, Ryan Gosling is his leading man, but this time, Gosling's silent-stare acting is empty, not enchanting, and the film's ultra-violence, while impressively stylish, doesn't add up to much more than artistic gratuitousness.
Like Drive, Only God Forgives benefits from a dynamite score, anchored again by composer Cliff Martinez. Yet, in this case, Martinez's work outshines Refn's. The film is hollow, blood-drenched eye candy; the soundtrack, on the other hand, is full-bodied adrenaline. "Wanna Fight," for instance, sounds like an electro rave inside Dracula's castle, while the searing "More Hands" moves from Eraserhead-like ambiance to lush, symphonic elegance. —MB