Only God Forgives is a crime/thriller film directed by Nicholas Winding Refn in 2013, which recieved many mixed reviews. The plot of the film follows an American drug smuggler living in Bangkok who comes into many conflicts with a local police officer after the death of his brother.
Colour and lighting is one the main factors that make this film stand out from start to finish. Throughout, we are thrown into masses of bright neon colours mostly of blues and reds. This makes every scene so much more interesting; due to the lack of dialogue, we are given time to admire every inch of the frame cast in these almost futuristic lights, as seen in Figure 2. Damon Wise describes the colours as the "neon sleaze of Bangkok both dangerous and beautiful, everything is bathed in disorientating primary colours". (Wise, 2013). One reason why the repetition of red and blue colours is perhaps to represent conflict. This could be between the main character, Julian and the Bangkok cop, or between Julian and his mother. Whichever, these two colours are seen throughout the film from the very start, such as the opening boxing match where the two opponents are wearing blue and red. Theses two colours are even shown in the poster, seen in Figure 1.
There are also many Freudian links based around Only God Forgives. This mainly revolves around Julian's relationship with his mother, Crystal. There are many links to Freud's theories such as the competition to be the mothers favorite son; "Julian and his brother Billy's relationship with their mother is entirely Freudian in nature, from the basic castration complex (Crystal, their mother, taunts Julian by comparing the size of his penis to his brother's)" (Hayes, 2013). We are also shown many other hints to Freud's theories such as we are told that Julian had killed his father back when he was living in the US.
Wise, D (2013) Only God Forgives Film Review, http://www.empireonline.com/reviews/reviewcomplete.asp?FID=137633 (Accessed on 12/12/13)
Bradshaw, P (2013) Only God Forgives (2013) Only God Forgives Review, In: The Guardian [online],http://www.theguardian.com/film/2013/aug/01/only-god-forgives-review (Accessed on 12/12/13)
Hayes, B (2013) Only God Forgives is Uncannily Freudian, http://badassdigest.com/2013/07/19/only-god-forgives-is-uncannily-freudian/ (Accessed on 12/12/13)
Figure 1, Only God Forgives (2013) Nicholas Winding Refn [Film Poster] Dennmark/Thailand, A Grand Elephant, http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-w4ZQ2r3fkew/Ue65gwz0R1I/AAAAAAAABFY/a4_FxgCtJnA/s1600/Only+God+Forgives+Poster.jpg (Accessed on 12/12/13)
Figure 2, Only God Forgives (2013) Nicholas Winding Refn [Film Still] Dennmark/Thailand, A Grand Elephant, http://dcfilmgirl.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/kristin-scott-thomas-only-god-forgives.jpg (Accessed on 12/12/13)
Figure 3, Only God Forgives (2013) Nicholas Winding Refn [Film Still] Dennmark/Thailand, A Grand Elephant,http://i1.ytimg.com/vi/BK0iQyEt24A/maxresdefault.jpg (Accessed on 12/12/13)
Figure 4, Only God Forgives (2013) Nicholas Winding Refn [Film Still] Dennmark/Thailand, A Grand Elephant,http://i1.ytimg.com/vi/euOfPwH6zOI/maxresdefault.jpg (Accessed on 12/12/13)