Tuesday, 8 December 2015

SPACE ODDITIES: Only God Forgives (2013)

Fig.1. 'Only God Forgives' Poster
Nicolas Winding Refn's movie, 'Only God Forgives' (2013) is a violent and brutally intense film filled with blood and shocking imagery. It's beautifully artistic shots are filled with colour and add a great sense of class and depth to the film.

Fig.2. Film Still

From the very first shot of the film we are welcomed the brutal world that the director has created, the cinematography is stunning. 'Courtesy of cinematographer Larry Smith, who makes the neon sleaze of Bangkok both dangerous and beautiful, everything is bathed in disorientating primary colours' (Empire, 2015) The colour red is prominent throughout most scenes, specifically ones that are set within darkened rooms or within Bangkok's criminal underground. A heightened sense of danger, and or violence can be felt during these scenes, but this is also due to the way in which Nicolas Winding Refn prolongs his shots and creates a looming sense of tension, something that has been used in many films throughout the years, a technique that puts the audience of the edge of the seats and give you a horrible sense of unease. 'The Thai capital's look is mean to evoke sleaze and corruption, yet it comes across, like the film itself, as affected and artificial' (Arikan, 2013) 
the corruption of does come across in some ways, but the artificiality of the world is show in abundance from start to finish, shadows drape across the characters faces and brightly coloured lighting, in an array of colours, highlight what the director wants you to see.

Fig.3. Film Still

One of the main characters of the film, Chang, a violent man on a quest to track down those who have done wrong. 'It is Chang who glides through the film with mysterious precision and ability, calm and ruthless in his capacity for aggression, and for enforcing his own kind of natural justice on his own turf' (Bradshaw, 2013)
Chang, played by, Vithaya Pansringarm, has a characteristic that seems to coincide with the way in which the film has been shot. His slow, yet graceful movements across the screen give him a sense of prowess, yet as an audience we watch intensively, what will his next move be? A man of few words, just like the rest of the characters in this film. Nobody seems to have much to say, everything in this films seems to be told through the use of imagery, for example, Chang will not inform you that he is about to kill you, but as he calmly draws his sword you don't question whether he is about to kill the person that is in front of him, you only ask, when is he going to kill them?

'Only God Forgives' is a film filled with tension and artistically directed scenes, the lack of dialogue does make this film quite hard to watch at times, yet the way in which the director captivates the audience with its hypnotic, tranquil but violent scenes make it a film worth watching.


Arikan, A. (2013) 'Only God Forgives (2013)' At: http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/only-god-forgives-2013 (Accessed On: 8/12/2015)

Bradshaw, P. (2013) 'Only God Forgives-Review' At: http://www.theguardian.com/film/2013/aug/01/only-god-forgives-review (Accessed On: 8/12/2015)

Empire Online. (2015) 'Only God Forgives Review) At: http://www.empireonline.com/movies/god-forgives/review/ (Accessed On: 8/12/2015)


Figure 1. 'Only God Forgives (2013)' [Poster] At: http://www.yourfaceisa.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/OnlyGodForgives.jpg (Accessed on: 8/12/2015)

Figure 2. [Film Still] At: http://screenmusings.org/movie/blu-ray/Only-God-Forgives/images/Only-God-Forgives-003.jpg  (Accessed on: 8/12/2015)

Figure 3. [Film Still] At: http://www.cinedivergente.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/only_god_forgives_1.jpg (Accessed on: 8/12/2015)