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Refn's "Only God Forgives" Booed at Cannes 
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Post Refn's "Only God Forgives" Booed at Cannes
http://movies.yahoo.com/blogs/movie-tal ... 21204.html

Drive received some, shall we say, strong opinions around here a few years ago, and this certainly doesn't look like the film that will earn Refn new fans (and may cost him some). Jeff Wells says "It’s a shit macho fantasy — hyperviolent, ethically repulsive, sad, nonsensical, deathly dull, snail-paced, idiotic, possibly woman-hating, visually suffocating, pretentious. I realize I sound like Rex Reed on one of his rants, but trust me, please — 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, shit upon, sedated, narcotized, appalled and bored stiff."

That's an odd combo of emotions that combine to make one feel bored, and it always irks me when someone tosses in a comment like "possibly women hating" without explanation, but at least it's a strong reaction. I take everything from Cannes with an enormous grain of salt, and I remain optimistic about the film. It seems that Refn is going even more nasty and abstract rather than head in the other direction, which makes sense to me given who he is. The "17 lines of dialogue" that Gosling allegedly has (seems a little made up, but hey) is not something I care about one way or another, but it does seem like the sort of thing that will really catch on in how people talk about it.

I realize that I'm into Drive more than some, but this remains in my top couple of most anticipated films this year. I'm certainly withholding judgement, but I am hopeful that Refn at least takes a real shot and doesn't cower to reproduce the same film again (a reasonable concern when this film was announced) or make his stuff more accessible.

What say you?


Thu May 23, 2013 9:32 am
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Post Re: Refn's "Only God Forgives" Booed at Cannes
Mike D'Angelo over at the AV Club said it's the worst movie he's seen all year, but he'd take it over "tasteful mediocrities". He also said it has the "courage of its moronic convictions", which strikes me as a pretty silly thing to say, since most morons aren't smart enough to realize they even have moronic convictions. Ignorance being bliss and whatnot.

It seems like the resounding critical consensus (at least at Cannes) is that the movie is horrible because it's vapid. It sounds almost like an exploitation film, which actually intrigues me because there was a fairly large sect of people who liked Drive because of how "badass" it was. It speaks to how we live in a culture of badassery where one act of violence trumps another in the pursuit of what is clearly an enviable rank to achieve. You're a badass, congrats! You've achieved so much in life! You children's children will be able to scream from the mountain tops that their grandpappy was a badass, through and through. It will bring meaning to their lives and possibly even end world hunger.

So, you know, maybe Refn gave us the movie that The Movies have been leading us towards. It's not surprising that movie is being met with hostility, people being the indulgent hypocrites that they are. It's like Scarface saying we need the bad guy.

Or, maybe Refn thought it would be super duper hilarious to bring an empty, violent, faux art film to Cannes to poke fun at its pretentiousness, only he's the only one in on the joke.

Of course, it's also entirely possible he just made a shitty movie and none of this matters in the slightest.

Color me intrigued! Which is yellow.


Thu May 23, 2013 11:25 am
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Post Re: Refn's "Only God Forgives" Booed at Cannes
If the folks at Cannes don't like it will probably be my pick of the year. Not sure about the stuff they don't like, but more often then not I've hated what they love.


Thu May 23, 2013 11:38 am
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Post Re: Refn's "Only God Forgives" Booed at Cannes
I was only mildly interested in this film before, but the sheer amount of hatred towards it definitely peaked my curiousity. Now I probably will end up seeing it in theaters.


Thu May 23, 2013 12:35 pm
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Post Re: Refn's "Only God Forgives" Booed at Cannes
The title makes this sound like a remake of "God forgives, Django doesn't".


Thu May 23, 2013 12:44 pm
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Post Re: Refn's "Only God Forgives" Booed at Cannes
What gives me the most pause is that out of the negative reviews I read, like Mike D'Angelo above, most have liked or loved Drive to some degree. (Mike gave this D, while Drive got B+)


Thu May 23, 2013 1:21 pm
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Post Re: Refn's "Only God Forgives" Booed at Cannes
Vexer wrote:
I was only mildly interested in this film before, but the sheer amount of hatred towards it definitely peaked my curiousity. Now I probably will end up seeing it in theaters.

:cry:

Drive was my third favorite movie of 2013, so I was really looking forward to Only God Forgives. Sure, there have been plenty of great films booed at Cannes before, but this has me really worried, especially given that many of the film's biggest dissenters were those who loved Drive.

Prior to seeing the film, U.K. film critic Shaun Munro tweeted this: "Time for Only God Forgives, easily my most anticipated film of #Cannes2013".

After seeing the movie, he had this to say: "Only God Forgives was um, not good #Cannes2013".

And this: "Only God Forgives - madenningly self indulgent, drains away its short runtime mostly wordlessly and in slow mo. What a letdown".

And finally this: "If not for Refn's rep the film would probably be rotting in a bargain bin somewhere #Cannes2013".

His review isn't any more positive: http://www.filmschoolrejects.com/review ... rgives.php.

My hopes are significantly lower at this point; I just hope that Refn's next effort ends up faring better. In all honesty, I had this penciled in as one of the year's best films when I listed my most anticipated movies of 2013.

Keep in mind that Refn won Best Director last time around at Cannes, so this isn't a promising sign. Still, Peter Bradshaw's five-star review has me somewhat hopeful.


Thu May 23, 2013 3:51 pm
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Post Re: Refn's "Only God Forgives" Booed at Cannes
I don't really care what the people at Cannes think, most of the stuff they like dosen't really interest me much.


Thu May 23, 2013 4:00 pm
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Post Re: Refn's "Only God Forgives" Booed at Cannes
Quote:
If not for Refn's rep the film would probably be rotting in a bargain bin somewhere


Thus the reason why auteur theory is a flawed, often untenable way of thinking about movies.


Thu May 23, 2013 4:14 pm
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Post Re: Refn's "Only God Forgives" Booed at Cannes
MGamesCook wrote:
Quote:
If not for Refn's rep the film would probably be rotting in a bargain bin somewhere


Thus the reason why auteur theory is a flawed, often untenable way of thinking about movies.


It's only flawed if you think auteur theory is the be-all, end-all way of thinking about movies. If you realize any auteur is capable of making a bad movie (not a terribly difficult concept to grasp), it can be a really valuable way of approaching an individual's work.


Thu May 23, 2013 4:36 pm
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Post Re: Refn's "Only God Forgives" Booed at Cannes
Vexer wrote:
I don't really care what the people at Cannes think, most of the stuff they like dosen't really interest me much.


You just said your curiosity peaked because they didn’t like the film, which sounds like you’re factoring in their lack of enjoyment as a reason for seeing the film. So doesn’t that mean you do care about what they think, just not in the way they intended?

Anyway; I’m saddened to hear all this. The trailer looked awesome, but when so many people come together to talk about how unenjoyable an experience was, it doesn’t exactly make me want to rush experience the same thing.


Thu May 23, 2013 8:33 pm
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Post Re: Refn's "Only God Forgives" Booed at Cannes
AJR wrote:
Vexer wrote:
I don't really care what the people at Cannes think, most of the stuff they like dosen't really interest me much.


You just said your curiosity peaked because they didn’t like the film, which sounds like you’re factoring in their lack of enjoyment as a reason for seeing the film. So doesn’t that mean you do care about what they think, just not in the way they intended?

Anyway; I’m saddened to hear all this. The trailer looked awesome, but when so many people come together to talk about how unenjoyable an experience was, it doesn’t exactly make me want to rush experience the same thing.

Not really no, it was the negative response from other critics like the A.V. Club that peaked my interest, so the Cannes thing really had little to do with it.


Thu May 23, 2013 8:44 pm
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Post Re: Refn's "Only God Forgives" Booed at Cannes
You mean from the AV Club's reporting of Cannes by Mike D'Angelo? So, by definition, you are taking in criticism from "the people at Cannes?"

Did you think people were talking about the organisers? This is confusing.


Thu May 23, 2013 9:00 pm
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Post Re: Refn's "Only God Forgives" Booed at Cannes
PeachyPete wrote:
MGamesCook wrote:
Quote:
If not for Refn's rep the film would probably be rotting in a bargain bin somewhere


Thus the reason why auteur theory is a flawed, often untenable way of thinking about movies.


It's only flawed if you think auteur theory is the be-all, end-all way of thinking about movies. If you realize any auteur is capable of making a bad movie (not a terribly difficult concept to grasp), it can be a really valuable way of approaching an individual's work.


Nicely said.

Looks like I'll be avoiding the movie. I can handle a lot of things, but "slowly paced and leaden" is not one of them.

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Thu May 23, 2013 9:30 pm
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Post Re: Refn's "Only God Forgives" Booed at Cannes
Quote:
It's only flawed if you think auteur theory is the be-all, end-all way of thinking about movies. If you realize any auteur is capable of making a bad movie (not a terribly difficult concept to grasp), it can be a really valuable way of approaching an individual's work.


Touche'


Thu May 23, 2013 9:34 pm
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Post Re: Refn's "Only God Forgives" Booed at Cannes
so this is available On Demand, in addition to limited theatrical. anyone see it?


Mon Jul 22, 2013 1:08 pm
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Post Re: Refn's "Only God Forgives" Booed at Cannes
Just so you know this story is exaggerated, only a select few audience members actually booed the film, but it actually did get a standing ovation.


Mon Jul 22, 2013 1:18 pm
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Post Re: Refn's "Only God Forgives" Booed at Cannes
calvero wrote:
so this is available On Demand, in addition to limited theatrical. anyone see it?


Yep, I watched it at home over the weekend. I'll write something more detailed eventually, but I do have to wonder if the critical beatdown it's been given has to do with people just wanting Refn to continue down the more accessible road of Drive. But anyone who has seen Valhalla Rising and Fear X and to a lesser extent Bronson shouldn't be particularly surprised by his approach here. There is admittedly something of a "train wreck" quality to the film, yet it also manages to be strangely fascinating.

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Mon Jul 22, 2013 1:19 pm
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Post Re: Refn's "Only God Forgives" Booed at Cannes
Blonde Almond wrote:
calvero wrote:
so this is available On Demand, in addition to limited theatrical. anyone see it?


Yep, I watched it at home over the weekend. I'll write something more detailed eventually, but I do have to wonder if the critical beatdown it's been given has to do with people just wanting Refn to continue down the more accessible road of Drive. But anyone who has seen Valhalla Rising and Fear X and to a lesser extent Bronson shouldn't be particularly surprised by his approach here. There is admittedly something of a "train wreck" quality to the film, yet it also manages to be strangely fascinating.


I also saw this over the weekend. Refn certainly maintains a grande sense of style, but the film itself fumbles. There was a lot of interesting stuff going on in Only God Forgives--I agree with Blondie that this film is engaging. Settings are stunning; giving the viewer a sense of walking through hell itself. Cliff Martinez's score isn't ground breaking, but it adds quite a bit to the film overall. However, with that said, I think the film is purely an unrealized work. The characters here are interesting, yet so little is known about them. The viewer can surmise quite a bit in this film, yet over the past couple of days I have been questioning if the underlying themes are quite enough. Gosling's relationship with a female character is utterly head scratching, yet it does reveal a little about the character, perhaps not blatantly but again using underlying themes. Essentially this film has to be looked at in retrospect, considering that we learn an important tale about Goslings character near the end of the oozing narrative. This piece of information gives viewer a mold to work with, but the instance itself creates far too great of a hinge---to the point where a lot of the film and actions taken are hanging on this convenient reveal.

Refn gives us interesting characters and even interesting themes for that matter (if you care to dig deep enough for them), but I have to think this film could have been so much more. Vithaya Pansringarm who plays Chang is arguably one of the best things about this film. In many ways Chang is crafted as an untouchable entity; a man who has a warped sense of justice in a place that has none. We can see his power vividly through immense forms of violence and even through the patient looks of his police unit who sit and listen to him sing. Yet even with all of this, so little is known about the man himself. This is a huge problem for Only God Forgives and it effects are ultimately detrimental. There is so much more to these characters, but were never given enough insight into them. So I suppose the film itself has worthy attributes, but as a whole Only God Forgives feels oddly incomplete, leaving viewers maybe wanting to see less bloodshed and a little more development on narrative and character.

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Mon Jul 22, 2013 7:13 pm
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Post Re: Refn's "Only God Forgives" Booed at Cannes
Saw it last night, and imo it is as many have already reported a case of "style over substance". Everything in Only God Forgives is highly stylised, right down to the way people walk. There is preciously little dialogue. I found the thing strangely Lynchian in it's execution. Sure there are no people behind the heater or man-made chickens, but there were strongmen posing on stage in a weird red lit nightclub. Bit like Mullholland Drive meets Hobo with a Shotgun as far as look and tone goes, but this is definitely not an exploitation film - this is just appearance I'm talking about here. The story, such that there is, is a triple revenge film:
[Reveal] Spoiler:
first a father (with sanction from a cop) kexacts revenge on a dude who raped and murdered his daughter
then the brother and mother of the dude want revenge on the father and cop
then the cop wants revenge on the brother and mother for trying to kill him

It's not worth booing or cheering about imo.


Tue Jul 23, 2013 2:57 pm
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