I'm pretty interested in film. I'll be starting an animation degree in september, and recently have been watching some movies an really watching the directing, colour choices and composition. After I watched Drive (amazing movie), I watched Only God Forgives, which is Nicolas Winding Refn's movie made after Drive.
EDIT: Also, if anyone else has good recommendations for movies or wants to talk about a movie in depth (or less in depth), feel free to post about those movies. Just keep things in spoilers so that people who haven't seen it can watch before reading.
I was wondering, firstly, if there are any other people here who really enjoy movies (I know people do) and are interested in things like directing, cinematography and writing in films? And secondly if anyone else has seen Only God Forgives and what did they think of it? I really enjoyed it, but I know it got mixed reviews, and some people really hated it, or really liked it. It's definitely more of an artistic film, not meant as a blockbuster.
I'll put what I thought in spoilers as not to ruin anyone who is going to watch it. And don't read it if you haven't seen it. It's meaningless if you haven't seen the movie. If you are going to watch it, just know that there is gore and violence. Drive was just over the top gore, and not too much of it. OGF is really messed up. It's not easy stuff to handle, just so you're warned.
Without question, the directing, colour choices and pacing are all great. The movie is not meant to be fast paced, and I found many of the scenes suspenseful and extremely tense. The lack of dialogue is one thing that is really interesting. Drive also had little dialogue, but this was taken to another level with OGF. So much about the main character Julian is told without words through things he does, and the "visions" he has about himself. His presumably incestual relationship with his mother, his inability to form normal connections with other people, or to have a normal sexual relationship. These are shown by the way he acts, and the way he see's himself in his visions. This is one point where I thought the movie was weak. The "visions" certain characters have are not well distinguished from the reality in the movie making it a little difficult to tell the difference at first. I'll have to watch it again sometime, since now I'm aware of what was real or not. I'll come back to this when I do. Perhaps I'll have a little more to say.
Another really strong point of the film was the music. I think it's the same writer for the music as in Drive? I'm not sure I'll have to look it up. But both Drive and OGF have great scores. The interesting thing in OGF is the Thai karaoke singing. I had to look it up, since it appears multiple times in the movie. Apparently it's an almost religious experience in Thailand, and a big part of the culture. I think if I had known that while watching it would have made more of an impact, since it's the ex-cop (God) who is singing at the karaoke bar. I'll have to watch it again with this knowledge.
The movie is pretty heavy on symbolism, the main one being hands, which there are a lots of shots of. While watching it's really hard to tell what the meaning of the hands are. My analysis is this. I think they represent the motives of the characters, in a sense. Or their ambitions. Early in the movie Julian raises his hands in a fighting pose next to the martial arts statue, believing himself a fighter, someone of strength. When he fights the ex-cop he raises his hands to fight, while the cop does not, showing both of their intentions. Julian is ready to fight, the cop has no intention of hurting him. Only after thoroughly beating Julian does the cop raise his hands, showing that now he is angry, ready to fight Julian and his mother, who has witnessed the fight. We also get shots of the same statue, showing who really the statue is representing. At the end of the movie, when Julian finds his mother dead, he puts his hand inside her stomach, presumably her womb. He feels the need to undo what he has done, to be reborn again. At the end, the cop cuts off Julian's hands, which is fulfilling his rebirth. Julian accepted losing his hands, finally finding peace with himself. There's more to this I'm sure, as there are other scenes where hands seem to be on important.
Anyway, those are mostly first impressions. I watched the movie a couple days ago, so I had some time to think about it.