Donnerstag, 4. Juli 2013

Filmfest München: Only God Forgives

Of course Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn's "Only God Forgives" is a prime example of style over substance, of indulgence in fetishistic excess, with its set pieces and props designed, decorated, lit to pornographic detail and characters reduced to either immobile zombies or cartoonish killing machines. And I'll be the last to defend its appalling scenes of torture and execution, which I find repulsive and unjustifiably offensive. But truth be told, I don't think the movie deserves the critical lashing after its Cannes premiere. There's something to be said about the visual conception of the film, so pathologically minute and beautiful that, together with the minimalistic dialogue and characterization as well as Cliff Martinez's galactic, immeasurably cool soundtrack, created a kind of alternate universe that's oddly compelling. In this sense, I don't think the scene near the end, for example, with the heavily symbolized balled fists, the bloody Thai sword and the mystic bamboo forest, illogical and vaguely ridiculous as it is, is any more reproachable than, say, anything in Terrence Malick's "The Tree of Life".

This is a sick wet dream of a movie for sure, but an impeccably styled and scored one.

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