Only God Forgives ★★★★★

The camera flows through a neon hell, corridors empty except for acts of violence either senseless or just but always bloody; the environment is beautiful under the layers of filth built from myriad nights of depravity; voices are drowned in synth and met with a murderous, inexorable silence. Our protagonist is passive, sparing his brother's killer, only acting on the behest of his mother. He asks for his hands to be tied, for his agency to be removed, and when he looks at his hands they naturally curl into fists - because what else are they going to do?

The expectation of violence, and his continual humiliation and emasculation following these outbursts, speaks to someone who is as uncertain of his own mind as we are of the line between reality and fantasy in what we're seeing. It's likely the best film about Western masculinity since Eyes Wide Shut, and a fascinating development in Winding's filmography following the mythical deconstructions of Drive and Valhalla Rising - both an improvement on the latter and a direct refutation of the former.

Jack liked these reviews