The anti-climatic non-fight
I've been told that people hate this film so much that they are retroactively hating DRIVE. How can you unlike DRIVE when this film is completely unconnected to it? You fickle bastards...
I wasn't a fan of DRIVE but I don't hate it. I am on record loving BRONSON and VALHALLA RISING having reviewed both here. With GOD FORGIVES I'm in the this is just so pretentious Redfrn can't be serious camp. I would swear that it was a joke except that it's not really funny until almost the end and then it's just the wrong sort of funny.
The plot (and I'm going to spill most of it- so skip the rest of the review if you don't want to know what happens) has Ryan Gosling as a thug in Thailand not saying much and not doing much even after his pedophile brother is beaten to death by the father of a hooker he kills. The father was put into the same room with Gosling's brother, and the dead girl, by a police officer (or ex police officer) who tells him you know what to do. This then precipitates a series of attempts to get revenge for the death by Kristin Scott Thomas who is the boys mother.(Though to be honest I took her to be a tranny when she first showed up and owing to the twisted nature of the film I could almost see her being Gosling's transgendered father... but even that is too weird). Gosling, who supposedly killed his father back in the US, hangs out and does nothing while his mothers hired thugs kill and are killed. Eventually Gosling fights (a relative term) the cop and loses badly. Left a bloody mess, his mother begs him to take the cop out. You won't believe what happens after that but it involves incestuous pseudo-necrophilia and Gosling allowing his arms to be chopped off before the cop sings a song under the closing credits.
I have no idea. I mean I really have no idea.
This reminded me of what might have happened if Stanley Kubrick did drugs with Gaspar Noe while watching INTO THE VOID and bad Asian crime films.
About the time that Gosling sliced open his dead mother's stomach and stuck his hand into her womb I just started to laugh uncontrollably. I know the relationship was odd between mother and son but the literal attempt to go back inside her was just too damn much to believe. On the other hand I guess we should feel lucky Redfrn drew the line at Gosling actually mounting his mother's corpse...
Watching this on pay per view I was joined about half way into the film by my dad who struggled to piece together what little that was happening. Stripped of the first half of non-set up he filled in the plot any old way and he kind of liked it until the closing minutes had him pondering what was really going on. I told him I didn't know and I had seen it from the start.
I should probably say that the film looks great and the cinematography should at least get an Oscar nomination, but as for the rest of it...flush it.
That anyone is taking this film seriously puzzles me. What are they seeing in it? Is there anything in it other than bad fights, longing looks and elliptical dialog?
I know many people have gone on about the violence but that isn't much you haven't seen before. What there is is all implication rather than anything graphic (except for one guy bleeding out). Even when it is graphic, say the sequence with the huge pins, it isn't particularly well done and I was laughing at the silliness of it all. I think people thought the violence was shocking because it woke them up from their slumber during the film.
What is the point of all of all of this? To steal a few dollars from the audience? I can't think of another reason.
Kristin Scott Thomas took the film because its against type for her, but as for everyone else why do the film unless you wanted to go to Thailand.
The worst part of the film is that most of the film is dull to the point of sleep. I sat in my living room fighting to remain awake...I fought the urge to sleep, hoping for some really wild violence, but nothing came...nothing but the realization that the 6.95 I paid to see the film had been effectively stolen from me...
God I hate this film. I can't believe a real live adult made it.