Monday, April 8, 2013

Stoker



Starring: Nicole Kidman, Mia Wasikowska, Matthew Goode, Dermot Mulroney, Jacki Weaver
Director: Chan-wook Park
Running Time: 1 hour, 39 minutes
Rating: R

Christian Bale set the bar high for smoking hot psychopaths in “American Psycho,” and Matthew Goode almost reaches it in Chan-wook Park’s English-language film debut “Stoker.” This sexy cat and mouse game quickly turns into a thriller, though your imagination gives you almost a better story before we find out this twisted family’s dark secret. Mia Wasikowska is one-noted and difficult to read as India, a troubled teen whose father has just died. However, Mia’s roles don’t usually disappoint. Nicole Kidman is ice cold as India’s mother Evie. Nicole, I love you, but please lay off the Botox.

Wentworth Miller of "Prison Break's" first screenplay has nothing to do with Bram Stoker or “Dracula.” Unless you consider the dysfunctional and disturbed family that lives in a Gothic mansion, and the pale protagonist with jet black hair. The introduction is inventive – credits are knocked over by tennis balls and wisp away with the wind. The film is saturated with beautiful and startling imagery, like hair turning into long blades of grass. Not only is it visually stunning, the story keeps you on your toes.

We meet India on the day of her father’s funeral. We have to wonder if his death caused her depression, or if she was always a bit dark. Probably the latter. Her Uncle Charlie moves in and seduces Evie, who is not a good mother, though we should consider the distant daughter she had to deal with. There are layers of emotion in Evie’s scenes with India, and a few times, the film is taken to a whole new level of disturbing.

Family bonds are tested in flashbacks with Dermot Mulroney as India’s father, and Jacki Weaver as India’s Great Aunt. As Uncle Charlie, Matthew Goode lures you in, though we immediately know something is off. The ending is ambiguous – we’re left wanting closure and an explanation; instead, it just leaves you with a furrowed brow and several questions.

The monumental house, drab costumes and eerie music give you a weird feeling in your stomach the entire time. Ending credits roll in reverse, representative of the backwardness of the movie. Wentworth Miller has come a long way since Prison Break. He has definitely tapped into a new calling. Go see this if you’re into dark films, but you might be a bit creeped out if you watch it alone.


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