Parents' Guide to

Only God Forgives

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 18+

Envelope-pushing revenge drama is ultraviolent (and slow).

Movie R 2013 90 minutes
Only God Forgives Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 18+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 17+

This title has:

Too much violence
age 18+

Could not wait for this to be over

This film is slow and self indulgent. It is also extremely violent. It takes its time so much that when the end comes I can't wait for it to be over. The only reason the film gets two stars is because Thomas and Gosling are great in their character work with Thomas as a special standout, however the script is so minimalist that it does not give them a lot to work with.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2):
Kids say (6):

A gifted actor, Gosling does his best with this film's bloody material. But the plot is too thin and the shots too pretentious to add any depth to what amounts to nothing more than torture porn -- particularly when Chang is working his knives -- which he uses to disembowel, slit throats, amputate, and otherwise torture and butcher and kill. Then there's the heavy-handed hand imagery, Julian's bizarre pseudo-relationship with a beautiful prostitute (Rhatha Phongam), and the even creepier dynamic between Julian and Crystal.

Gosling is now the muse du jour of two ambitious filmmakers, Only God Forgives director Nicolas Winding Refn and Derek Cianfrance (The Place Beyond the Pines, Blue Valentine). After two films apiece, Cianfrance's films are the more relationship and character driven, while Refn's are more style over substance. While the stylized elements of Drive added to its appeal, Only God Forgives is a misstep for a filmmaker who clearly wants to make his mark. All those pauses and lingering shots that worked so beautifully in Drive just make Only God Forgives duller than audiences expect from a revenge thriller. Refn has the nerve to be visionary, but he'll need to do better than this.

Movie Details

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