Only God Forgives

Composed By: Cliff Martinez

Songs By: Various Artists

Distributed by: Milan Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


                In the dramatic thriller Only God Forgives, Ryan Gosling is Julian, a respected member of the Bangkok underground.  Julian runs a Thai boxing club and smuggling ring together with his brother Billy (Tom Burke).  When Billy is murdered, their mother, Crystal (Kristin Scott Thomas), a crime lord matriarch returns for Billy's body, she calls for Julian to exact revenge on his brother's killer.  Though finding out who is responsible for Billy's death may be easy, exacting revenge may be a tad more difficult.  In fact, it could be deadly.

                The musical score of Only God Forgives was created by musician and composer Cliff Martinez.  Well-known for his performance in bands such as the Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Weirdos, The Dickies and more, Martinez is also a well-respected film score composer.  His impressive film score résumé includes such notable films as  Narc, Solaris, The Limey, Wonderland, Wicker Park, The Company You Keep, The Lincoln Lawyer, Drive, Arbitrage and Spring Breakers.

                In creating the musical score of Only God Forgives, Martinez sought to include some ethnic elements, using authentic Thai music as well as Thai instruments to allow the score to reflect the setting of the film.  According to Martinez, "I tried to allow the music and setting of Thailand influence the score."  The score of the film contains ominous undertones and features an orchestral sound mixed with electronic and ethnic accents.  Although all of the music is rather interesting, one track in particular stood out for me.  Wanna Fight is a track reminiscent of John Carpenter's horror work featuring a repetitive electric ambient sound and an organ.  The track immediately sends chills up your spine and adrenaline pumping through your veins.  You just know that this is a scene in which some dramatic event is about to take place. 

                The music of Only God Forgives reflects the action of the film and the film's setting perfectly.  The score is intriguing and the songs are interesting, though not knowing one ounce of the Thai language, I could hardly tell what they were saying.  As a musical score, I believe that Cliff Martinez's creation enhances the action of the film.  As a stand alone album, it represents an interesting listening experience, though some may not find it interesting enough to warrant paying close to $13.00US to own the album.


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