Only God Forgives Review
John White has reviewed Only God Forgives for this website and you can find his review here. I pretty much agree with everything he says and although the film is likely to divide viewers, it's not quite like anything else I've ever seen. Ryan Gosling is perhaps a bit of a blank at times and I'm not entirely sure that the deliberate miscasting of Kristin Scott Thomas works as well as it was intended to. But the sheer bravado and force of the filmmaking carry the thing through and there's a strong streak of black humour to leaven the undeniably brutal excesses.
Lionsgate's Blu-Ray presentation of Only God Forgives is exceptionally good in terms of video and audio, falling down only on the level of extra features.
The 1.85:1 transfer is a beauty. The first thing to say is that the colours are, without exception, absolutely dazzling. This is a visually extreme film with strong thematic use of colour and the Blu-Ray replicates this beautifully. The strong blues and reds dominate along with the sometimes omnipresent neon lights of Bangkok. Detail is equally strong, particularly in the interior sequences, and the night scenes offer excellent definition. This is one of the best Blu-Ray transfers I have seen this year.
Equally good is the DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio track. Immersive in the extreme, the audio catapults you into the drama with constant use of the surrounds and occasional memorable moments from the bass. Dialogue is always clear and Cliff Martinez's music score rumbles to impressive effect throughout. Optional English subtitles are available for the English dialogue while the Thai dialogue is accompanied by burnt-in English subtitles.
I wasn't so impressed by the bonus materials. The 12 behind the scenes clips add up to a total of about 12 minutes and are little more than standard press release material. We get contributions from the director and the stars but they don't say much of any interest, which is quite some achievement when you consider Nicolas Winding Refn's reputation as a rabble-rouser. This is made up for somewhat by the commentary track. This features the director in conversation with Damon Wise of Empire magazine and is as fascinating, self-aggrandising and confrontational as you might expect. Rounding off a rather meagre selection is the original trailer. I won't say too much about the photo galleries except to say, I'm afraid, that the word "conceptual" is used to describe at one of them.
Only God Forgives is an astonishing, troubling, sometimes irritating and always riveting film which deserves a wider audience than it will probably receive. Lionsgate's Blu-Ray looks and sounds perfect and is recommended, although you will probably find the extras to be disappointing.