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Only God Forgives [2013] [R] - 6.10.5



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Unlike the MPAA we do not assign one inscrutable rating based on age, but 3 objective ratings for SEX/NUDITY, VIOLENCE/GORE and PROFANITY on a scale of 0 to 10, from lowest to highest, depending on quantity and context.

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Sex & Nudity
Violence & Gore
1 to 10


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An American-born drug dealer in Thailand (Ryan Gosling) is contacted by his domineering mother (Kristen Scott Thomas) and instructed to avenge the death of his psychopathic brother. A police detective (Vithaya Pansringarm) also lurks about, using a samurai sword and other implements to cause mayhem on those he decides are better off dead. Also with Tom Burke, Byron Gibson and Gordon Brown. Directed by Nicholas Winding Refn. [1:30]

SEX/NUDITY 6 - A woman ties a man's hands to a chair and sits in front of him then slowly lifts her dress and begins to masturbate as the man watches silently; we see the woman from behind, she appears fully clothed but her hand is at her crotch and we hear her moaning sexually.
 We see what appears to be a brothel where a man sits on a sofa and watches as a woman guides a man's hands to her crotch, and then up her skirt; it is implied, using cross-shots, that a woman is watching her adult son watch a woman being manually stimulated; we then see that she is actually watching three men wearing only jock-strap underwear (their bare buttocks are visible) pose and flex.
 A man goes to a brothel, asks the male proprietor to have sex with a 14-year-old, then asks if the man has a teenage daughter, offering him a large sum of money to have sex with her; the proprietor declines and we see the man run into a room where women are wearing lingerie. On multiple occasions we see shots inside what is implied to be a brothel, where we see women in various types of lingerie and see women appear to be sitting, waiting to be selected by men.
 A man approaches three teen girls sitting outside; it is implied that they are prostitutes and he is hiring one.
 A woman shares a lingering hug with her adult son: the woman wraps her arms around the man's torso and rests her head on his stomach and crotch. A woman implies to a man that she and her son had a very close relationship, which made her younger son jealous and it is implied that the woman means she had a sexual relationship with her son. A woman and her adult son have an odd sexual tension throughout the movie, including the woman lovingly rubbing the man's arm with her finger and hugging him.
 A woman makes a series of crude remarks to a young woman, implying that the young woman is a prostitute and that she is paid by the woman's son to have sex with her. A woman makes a crude remark about a young woman's place of work in a brothel. A woman makes a series of remarks about the size of her son's genitals, and he then remarks that her other son (sitting with her) had normal sized genitals.
 A woman takes off her dress and we see that she is wearing a bustier and brief-style underwear. During a boxing match, we see men without shirts and their bare chest and backs are visible. We see shirtless men in a gymnasium working out. We see a shirtless man sitting outside a building.

VIOLENCE/GORE 10 - A man shoves another man sitting in a chair, then pulls out a gun and aims it at the man's head; a second man approaches the sitting man and stabs him in the arms with metal chopsticks and the man screams in pain (we see the man's arms pinned to the chair with the metal chopsticks and no blood is visible); the attacker takes another pair of metal chopsticks, stabs them into the man's legs and then approaches the man with a small knife and we see the man drag the knife into the man's eye (blood pours from his eye) and then the second eye (we see his eyes pouring blood); the man then takes a third set of metal chopsticks and shoves one into the man's ear causing the man to scream in pain and it is implied that the man dies from this final injury.
 A group of men confront a man, showing him a gunman and one of the men with the gunman slaps the man on the head; another gunman pulls out a sword and swing slicing down the man's chest and the man falls over (we see blood pour from the wound and it appears the man's rib cage has been sliced open); a child watches this interaction.
 A man pulls out a sword and stabs a woman in the chest silently (we see blood spurt from her mouth) and her body slumps to the ground (blood is on her blouse and face); the woman's adult son discovers his mother's dead body, pulls out a sword and stabs her in the torso, and then slowly puts his hand inside the stab wound as he stares at the dead woman's face.
 A man walks into a room where we see the dead, blood-soaked body of a teen girl and a man, crumpled in the corner with blood covering him; a dead man's body is also on the ground with blood covering him; the man who walks into the room rouses the man in the corner and confronts him about murdering the other man and the man begins to cry (he is still wearing blood-soaked clothing); the man chides him for allowing his daughters to be prostitutes and then slices off the man's head with a sword (we hear the sound of the head hitting the ground but do not see the decapitation or severed head).
 A man opens fire on a bar, firing a machine gun into a crowd of men: we see bodies fall to the ground and one man tries to fire back, but misses the gunman; the gunman sprints away as the second gunman fires again and then takes chase running through a series of alleys until the second gunman waits at a corner, then throws a pan of hot oil into the gunman's face and beats the man with a frying pan (we hear the sound of the metal clanging against the man's head); we later see the gunman held, hands cuffed behind him, his face swollen and burned, by the second gunman.
 A man approaches another man whose arms are out in front of him; the man lifts up a sword to swing down and it is implied that the man cuts off the other man's arms (and possibly kills him). A woman holds out her arm and we see the swing of a sword as her arm is severed and blood spurts from the wound; an older man is seen holding the sword and the woman does not cry out in pain.
 A man silently approaches a man from behind, and then runs a knife along the man's throat; the man cries out and we see blood spurt from the wound as the other man slowly lowers him to the ground.
 A man shoots a woman at point-blank range and we see her body fall to the ground; the woman's young daughter turns around and sees the woman's dead body as another man emerges and fires three shots in the young girl's direction but we see that he was shooting the first gunman and the young girl is unharmed. A man approaches another man and shoots the man point-blank in the face (we do not see the man being shot, we only see the man raise the gun and hear the gunshot).
 We see the shadowy figure of a man repeatedly striking the ground and it is implied that he is committing a murder.
 An older man walks into a room where we see blood covering a dead teen girl on the ground with a pool of blood behind her and we see a second man with blood covering his face (he is implied to be the killer); it is implied that the older man was the teen girl's father and that the man had killed her as revenge.
 A man challenges another man to a fight and we see the two men facing off in a gymnasium: the two men put up their fists and one man avoids blows as the second man tries to punch him, one man is smacked to the ground, he stands up and the two exchange blows, and one man continues to knock the other man to the ground the moment he stands up; we later see the man who had been continually knocked to the ground covered in blood, with a cut on his forehead and one of his eyes swollen shut. A man slaps another man then slaps the woman sitting next to him; the man is thrown out of the room and the attacking man grabs into his mouth and drags him away using the man's teeth as a grip. We see two men boxing in a boxing ring with one of the men knocking the other man to the ground. We see a boxing match with a man rapidly kicking the other man in the back and torso. A man tries to block another man as we hear a crash of glass bottles and see the man push the other man to the ground; we later see one of the men with a small cut under his eye.
 A man slams a woman against a wall, putting his hand around her neck and shouting at her to take off her dress; the woman takes off her dress and hands it to him but he does not accept it (please see the Sex/Nudity category for more details). A woman shouts at her adult son, asking if he had killed the man who killed his brother; the man explains that the dead brother had killed and raped a 16-year-old girl and the woman offhandedly says, "I'm sure she deserved it" before telling him that she is going to kill the man who killed her son. A man tells a woman that a police officer was involved in the murder of the woman's adult son, and the man advises "Don't worry, I'll kill him." A woman shouts at another woman and then tells a man that she has traveled 30,000 miles to see "the corpse of her first-born son."
 A woman tells another woman that her son had been killed and her other son (sitting with the two women) needs to seek revenge, saying that if the tables were turned, the other son would have brought the murderer's head to his mother, "On a platter." A woman tells a man that her adult son had killed his father and then fled the country. A woman asks her adult son to kill a man, offering that she will "take care" of the man if he helped her. A police officer interviews an older man about the death of his daughter and encourages the older man to seek revenge for his daughter's death. A man tells another man that he is looking for the man's brother, in relation to a murder; the man then tells the man that a second man was discovered murdered the previous day. A man warns a woman that she "Can't go around killing cops anymore." A man tells another man that he had agreed to a woman's orders to "Kill them all." A woman tells her adult son that she had been advised to terminate her pregnancy when she was pregnant with him.
 As a man washes his hands in a sink, what appears to be blood comes from the faucet. A man has a flashback of himself having a stand off with a man.

PROFANITY 5 - About 7 F-words and its derivatives, 5 sexual references, 2 anatomical terms, 1 mild obscenity, 1 derogatory racial term, name-calling (not much of a fighter, cracked), 1 religious profanity (GD). [profanity glossary]

SUBSTANCE USE - We see what appears to be a drug deal and a woman hands a man a small packet as they appear to be exchanging money, a woman offers a man "five kilos of coke" for his participation in a crime, and a woman tells another woman that her adult son (the woman's date) sells drugs to make money and then describes that the man sells heroin and cocaine. We see men and women drinking cocktails, two men offer a man a cocktail, and a woman is surrounded by wine glasses at a table. We see men and women smoking cigarettes throughout the movie.

DISCUSSION TOPICS - Revenge, death of a loved one, killing one's parent, drug dealing, ex-pats, brothels, acceptance, forgiveness

MESSAGE - Family relationships can be very complex.

Special Keywords: S6 - V10 - P5 - MPAAR

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A CAVEAT: We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and some of our early standards were not as stringent as they are now. We therefore need to revisit many older reviews, especially those written prior to 1998 or so; please keep this in mind if you're consulting a review from that period. While we plan to revisit and correct older reviews our resources are limited and it is a slow, time-consuming process.

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