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My 12 for ’13: Only God Forgives & Neon Nightmares…

This is my annual countdown of the 12 movies that really stuck with me this year. It only counts the movies released in Ireland in 2013, so quite a few of this year’s Oscar contenders aren’t eligible, though some of last year’s are.

This is number 7…

Few films this year have stayed with me as vividly as the rich and disturbing visual and aural landscape of Nicolas Winding Refn’s Only God Forgives. It’s a decent into a neon hell, a world half-inhabited by the damned and stalked by demons. With Cliff Martinez’s pounding score still echoing through my head long after my last viewing, Only God Forgives is a haunting piece of cinema, a nightmare captured on digital.

onlygodforgives6

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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – Dax (Review)

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is twenty years old this year. To celebrate, I’m taking a look at the first season. Check back daily for the latest review or retrospective.

Dax is a very weird episode. It is the first episode centred around Jadzia Dax, but it also demonstrates the problems that will affect Dax-centric episodes throughout Terry Farrell’s time on the show. Due to the nature of the character, the stories about Dax tend to treat her as a plot point or a macguffin rather than a character in and of herself. Here, for example, Dax finds herself on trial for the actions of her direct predecessor, Curzon Dax. It’s a fascinating moral and philosophical dilemma (can you hold somebody accountable for their actions in a past life?), but it’s a story about Dax that isn’t about the character as she currently exists. It’s fascinating and frustrating in equal measure, but at least it’s a sign that Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is content to do more than merely imitate Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Touching...

Touching…

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Non-Review Review: Only God Forgives

Only God Forgives is a journey into hell. It’s an unpleasant, uncomfortable, terrifying, surreal, macabre, haunting, eerie and beautiful exploration of brutality and violence. Nicolas Winding Refn’s latest film isn’t anywhere near as accessible as Drive. It isn’t just bereft of sympathetic characters, it doesn’t even feature any characters who lend themselves to empathy or recognisability. Ryan Gosling’s Julian is so introverted and withdrawn that it’s often difficult to determine the difference between reality and his surreal dream sequences.

Then again, given Refn suggests the man is living in his own private hell, perhaps there’s not too much difference any way.

Wanna fight?

Wanna fight?

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