Early critic reactions to Only God Forgives have hit and are almost acting as an apology for getting Drive so tragically wrong
I can’t stand 2011’s Drive — not in the slightest. An intended homage to sleek ’70s crime thrillers, the movie is a hollow, style-over-substance slog that squanders its cast on a cliched story and roughly 40 total lines of banal dialogue before easing into its gratuitous, yet un-engaging action at a snail’s pace.
It is without a doubt the most pretentious and boring film I’ve wasted my time with at a theater (and for some reason again at home), maybe ever.
And the worst part? Somehow it was hailed as one of 2011’s best movies. The bane of my movie existence still sits at a lofty 93% on Rotten Tomatoes with its non-existent praises being sung night and day. I wish I could rise above it but constantly hearing this undeserved acclaim only strengthens my resolve to prove its falseness.
So when director Nicolas Winding Refn and star Ryan Gosling re-teamed for a new, upcoming revenge thriller titled Only God Forgives (in the style of its predecessor), I braced myself for the inevitable tidal wave of critical praise and prepared to continue my mission to make this Danish fucker pay for what he did to myself and the others who saw though the fog bank of neon lights and techno music.
And then, ironically, it was like an act of the almighty happened…
This is the summary from IGN’s review of the film. As you can probably tell, they are not mincing words in their negativity, with “Awful” being quite a bold label.
But that’s just mainstream IGN, you say. They’re a videogaming site that doesn’t usually focus on arthouse films, you say. True, but remember this is also the site that gave Drive a laughable 10/10.
So where are the “true” critics in this whole thing? When are they going to ride in, noses up, scarfs (sorry, ascots) tied and cups of tea primed to shower refined admiration on Refn’s latest? They’re at the Cannes Film Festival… booing the movie.
Yes, the supposed high-brow critics invited to such prestigious events are also taking the movie to task and in a not-so-polite way. Almost seven weeks away from its official release, Only God Forgives has sputtered out of the critical gate with a mere 3 out of 15 collected reviews being positive on RT (20% as of May 31, for those keeping track).
While I obviously have yet to see the movie and likely won’t jump at the chance to spend money on it, I’ll reserve some measure of judgement. Who knows, it could be tolerable. Still, the question is this:
Where was this reaction two damn years ago with Drive?!
Every single thing highlighted in IGN’s review is almost word for word what I took serious issue with in Drive, and admittedly, their few positive notes are also things I didn’t hate about that one either.
So how does “dull”, “style over substance” and “caricatured characters” translate to this movie being awful and the exact same things make Drive a masterpiece? What is so incredibly different about the two (other than two different reviewers, keep in mind)? Is some great veil being lifted, finally revealing Refn’s recent works to be the indulgent slogs they really are? Are reparations at last being paid for this previous injustice? Am I asking too many questions?
The suspense is killing me.
Only God Forgives sees Ryan Gosling taking vengeance for the murder of his drug-running, rapist brother. I would say it’s impossible to make such a despicably trashy concept boring but we are talking about a man who made another story of revenge and hyper-violence into a black hole of interest.
Only God Forgives opens in limited release July 19. General audiences might be more forgiving but odds are I won’t be.