only god forgives

I knew this had poor reviews, but what I’d heard about it made me think it would at least be interesting — if not good, then at least the kind of bad that would be entertaining in its own way.

I was doubly disappointed. This is a slow-moving 90 minutes, self-conscious, rather unpleasant to look at despite a few striking tableaus. I didn’t love Nicolas Winding Refn‘s Drive either, but liked it a lot better than this. Both are more violent than they need to be — obsessively so, like the director is luxuriating in it, and I found that intense focus depressing. The self-serious tone doesn’t help; this is an exploitation revenge flick that thinks it’s high-art.

Two good things: I’d heard that Kristin Scott Thomas was good, and I agree. In a weird movie it’s nice to have an actor who commits fully to that weirdness, with her absurd age-inappropriate wardrobe and makeup suggesting some creepy cross between Lady Macbeth, Jocasta, and the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

Also, Ryan Gosling in a tight white t-shirt. When in doubt, there’s at least that to look at.