The last time Ryan Golsing teamed up with director Nicolas Winding Refn, critics at the Cannes Film Festival dished out rave reviews like it was Christmas.
The ultra-stylish, hyper-violent film, Drive, won Refn the Best Director trophy at the 2011 festival and cemented Gosling's position as a leading man.
Many were expecting great things for Only God Forgives. Well, it has got the critics talking, but not in the way Golsing or Refn would have hoped.
Critics booed the film at its screening and there were walkouts during the film's torture scenes.
Those scenes include one man being tortured by steel chopsticks and another man having his arm severed with a sword.
The film, which also stars English Patient star Kristin Scott Thomas, is set in Thailand and tells the story of Julian (Gosling), a small-time crook who is urged to take revenge on the police officers who killed his brother.
Here's a taste of some of the reviews:
"Movies really don't get much worse than Nicholas Winding Refn's Only God Forgives. It's ... hyperviolent, ethically repulsive, sad, nonsensical, deathly dull, snail-paced, idiotic, possibly woman-hating, visually suffocating, pretentious. This is a defecation by an over-praised, over-indulged director who thinks anything he craps out is worthy of your time. I felt violated, s*** upon, sedated, narcotised, appalled and bored stiff." - Jeff Wells, Hollywood Elsewhere.
"The wallpaper emotes more than Ryan Gosling does in Only God Forgives, an exercise in supreme style and minimal substance." - Peter Debruge, Variety.
"... with no truly relatable characters to compel us along between the occasional (glorious) fight or maiming scene, layers of style are lavished on in a threadbare plot a way that feels like they're compensating for a lack." - Jessica Kiang, The Playlist.
Guardian critic Peter Bradshaw had mixed feeling about the film and wasn't sure he should give one star or five - in the end he gave it five. His review was packed with praise, which may be a sign that it takes a while for the film to grow of audiences.
Here's some of the reaction on Twitter:
I have just watched Only God Forgives (dir. Nicolas Winding Refn)... I... It... I... *eyeballs roll back into head, falls over* #Cannes2013
— Peter Bradshaw (@PeterBradshaw1) May 22, 2013
ONLY GOD FORGIVES. And even that's being generous, really. Worthless. #Cannes
— Justin Chang (@JustinCChang) May 22, 2013
Only God Forgives is a beautiful disaster. Really doesn't work in the slightest, but very happy it exists. #Cannes2013
— Robbie Collin (@robbiereviews) May 22, 2013
- © Fairfax NZ News
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