The last time Ryan Gosling and director Nicolas Winding Refn went to Cannes together, they brought “Drive,” the movie that won the director’s prize at the festival and found a avid fan base in the states—and one person who was expecting a “Fast and Furious” rip-off.
They returned this year with the similarly stylish and violent “Only God Forgives.” The trailers and clips have had “Drive” fans eager to see what would come next from the star and director duo, but the early reviews out of Cannes aren’t as kind as they were for their last effort. While, “Only God Forgives” certainly has its fans, this may not be the movie that “Drive” fans were hoping for.
Read what the critics are saying after the jump!
“While many will surely argue that this is all at the expense of story, there is enough of one here to keep things moving, even if barely, and Kristin Scott Thomas is everything she’s advertised to be. Get ready, the most badass art film ever is coming your way.” —Ryland Aldrich, Twitch
“The wallpaper emotes more than Ryan Gosling does in ‘Only God Forgives,’ an exercise in supreme style and minimal substance from “Drive” director Nicolas Winding Refn…. As hyper-aggressive revenge fantasies go, it’s curious to see one so devoid of feeling, a veniality even ‘Drive’ fans likely won’t be inclined to forgive.” —Peter Debruge, Variety
“A mesmerisingly moody and stylishly violent crime drama, Nicolas Winding Refn’s film fairly drips with tangible menace and a pervading sense of dread, and while perhaps too bloody to attract substantial mainstream audiences (or young fans of star Ryan Gosling) its sheer sense of cinematic control, gripping sound design and its artistic look will find willing viewers who buy into its sheer elegance and razor-edge drama.” —Mark Adams, Screen Daily
“The skeletal narrative mixes martial arts action with sexually loaded mother-son conflict that makes superficial nods to Shakespeare and Greek tragedy. Even more than the Danish director’s previous film, this one has way more style than subtext, not that it’s likely to diminish its cultish allure for avid genre fans.” —David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter
em>”If one wants to root around for depth it is there, I suppose. Gosling, the Son, is a redeemer through his shred of dignity. But Chang, ruthless and all powerful, is perhaps on the side of right. But just as only God may forgive, only stoners who are blown away by gruesome violence and Cliff Martinez scores will have any interest in parsing this tale. The rest won’t be quite so forgiving.” —Jordan Hoffman, Film.com
“Only God Forgives” hits theaters and VOD on July 19.