Sunday, March 17, 2013


Year: 2013
Director: Park Chan-Wook
Cast: Mia Wasikowska, Matthew Goode, Nicole Kidman, Dermot Mulroney

Plot: When India Stoker's father dies, she and her mother Evelyn meet her estranged uncle Charlie, a mysterious member of the family who takes a great interest in India.

Review: It's hard to believe that Prison Break's Wentworth Miller wrote the screenplay to Stoker, and I mean that in a good way. I've always considered him to be an average actor at best, and to realise that he's capable of writing something this unique is impressive.

That script, combined with the direction of Park Chan-Wook makes Stoker an interesting, if not perfect film. Now, I haven't seen Park's Oldboy, but seeing his style on's wow. The guy has some rare techniques in his presentation. I love how he moves from one scene to the next by blending the backgrounds together, and Stoker also benefits from some really nice camera shots, either close up ones or the ones taken from unique angles. It's dazzling.

This film is a mixture of a character study and a psychological thriller, though to be honest, it doesn't quite excel in both genres. It does try brilliantly to merge the two together, but after seeing it, I felt like it can improve itself just a bit more. For instance, certain characters' motivations aren't made clear, and some scenes are there for no particular reason. Some other scenes also don't seem to connect well together, which may confuse viewers. The film also moves rather slowly, so patience is needed if you want to enjoy this.

Alice In Wonderland's Mia Wasikowska is an excellent choice as India, and this role shows how much she has grown since Alice. As India, she is externally different, in the way she dresses and communicates to people. It's clear that her late father was the only person who connected with her, as she doesn't speak to her mother much, and she has no friends in school. Her fashion sense is also very retro. But deep down she is intelligent, and it is often hard to tell what she is thinking. Mia pulls off this complex role very well. Matthew Goode is also solid as her uncle Charlie, who is as mysterious as they come. Goode has striking eyes, which enables him to look like a sinister character, yet come off as a handsome gentleman. It doesn't take long for the viewer to see that Charlie is a dangerous man, and seeing how it plays out is what keeps the story going. Nicole Kidman plays second fiddle this time as India's mother, and she does well in portraying a parent who is struggling to get along with her daughter while hiding the fact that things aren't okay.

I think Stoker is a brilliantly conceived film which could have been exceptional if its execution was just a bit smoother. With a bit more emotion and better editing, I would have enjoyed this more. But I'll give credit where it's due, it's something worth checking out. (3.5/5)

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