Tag Archives: Nicolas Winding Refn

Only God Forgives is a polarizing acid trip

8 Aug


Nicolas Winding Refn’s follow-up to Drive felt like a polarizing acid trip. You either love or hate his approach to filmmaking. It is stylistic with substance to back it up. Only God Forgives is no exception, but I found the stylistic side dominating the substance in this film. The symbolism and metaphors mix with the spirituality as audiences follow Julian (Ryan Gosling), a drug-smuggler living in Bangkok is compelled to find and kill whoever is responsible for his brother’s death.

Unfortunately, the plot is thin and its pace is uneven. However, Larry Smith’s cinematography is beautiful and his distinct color pallet collaborates with Cliff Martinez brooding score to help Beth Mickle achieve her dark and dangerous production design. This film will surely divide audiences because Gosling appears lost at times and is not technically equipped to carry out the martial art requirements of this role. The sublime succumbs to the ugly underworld and the film cannot recover.


Adam’s Grade: B

Chuck’s Grade: N/A

Drive: A Breath of Fresh Air

20 Aug

Drive is a film unlike any other. It mixes style with substance and grabs hold of audiences from the very beginning. The film stars Ryan Gosling as “The Driver”, a man who is a stunt driver by day and a getaway driver by night. Early on, he meets his neighbor Irene (Carey Mulligan) and her son Benecio. The three have a special bond, but things take a turn when Irene’s husband returns from prison lingering debts.

Drive is not just your standard heist film, it’s a character study.  The amazing parts of the film are found in its silences. Much of the film are moments between characters staring at each other and not uttering a word.  The actors let their body language do the talking.  This movie is filmed with exquisite detail and style.  The gripping script is performed beautifully by Gosling, Mulligan, and Albert Brooks. Drive is a film that can’t be missed.

Adam’s Grade: A-
Chuck’s Grade: A-