Only God Forgives is a thriller from the Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn. The main character is interpreted by Ryan Gosling, who employs a glacial and almost invariable facial expression. The plot is quite simple: the main character's brother is killed after having raped and killed a prostitute; the mother of these two brothers tries to take revenge but the protagonist doesn’t help her because he thinks that his brother is guilty. Nevertheless, when his brother's killer decides to murder her too he tries to protect his mother, even if without success.
As most of Refn’s movies, the plot isn’t so important: the soundtrack and the photography convey to this movie an unique atmosphere, making the viewer feel violence even when it isn’t actually shown on screen. Violence is also the movie’s main theme: a single violent act brings to an unstoppable climax of blood. Another theme is the choice: the main character is not sure of his actions and often stares at his hands, the means with which he can act to change the world around him, and at the end of the movie he lets his brother’s killer cut them, refusing to have to act again. In order to focus the attention to these themes there are just a few dialogues, and they are all quite short. While directing Only God forgives, Refn wasn’t trying to create just a simple thriller as many others.