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Stoker: Provocative Visual Style without Storytelling Substance

 

 
Overview
 

Genre: , ,
 
Starring: , ,
 
Directed By:
 
MPAA Rating:
 
Release Date: March 1, 2013 (UK)
 
Length: 99 minutes
 
Directing
7.0


 
Plot
6.0


 
Acting
7.0


 
Cinematography
8.0


 
Total Score
7.0
7/ 10


 

Whoa


It's a beautifully filmed movie with a great visual style.

No


An overly simplistic script ultimately doesn’t deliver anything significant.


Bottom Line

Given the epic quality of his “Vengeance Trilogy,” we had great expectations for Stoker, the English language debut from Korean director Park Chan-wook. And in terms of visual style, Stoker certainly has plenty going for it. The camera pans very deliberately over the most minute details, whether it be a spider crawling up a person’s […]

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Posted March 25, 2013 by

 
Full Review
 
 

Given the epic quality of his “Vengeance Trilogy,” we had great expectations for Stoker, the English language debut from Korean director Park Chan-wook. And in terms of visual style, Stoker certainly has plenty going for it. The camera pans very deliberately over the most minute details, whether it be a spider crawling up a person’s leg or a yellow umbrella hanging from a gated iron fence. This is a beautifully filmed movie; it’s just too bad Wentworth Miller’s script just doesn’t go anywhere.

It all begins with the mysterious accidental death of Richard Stoker (Dermot Mulroney) who leaves behind an unstable widow, Evelyn (Nicole Kidman), and an emotionally internalized 18-year-old daughter, India (Mia Wasikowska). The two get a visit from his brother—the mysterious and seemingly charming uncle Charlie (Matthew Goode)–who accepts an offer to stay with his extended family for a while. Slowly, we come to realize that Charlie has a dark past (as a cold-blooded killer) and a seductive personality. One night, Charlie shows up to save Charlie from a threatening situation. He also arrives — in a sweet old Jaguar — to pick her up when school lets out. Because her father never told her about him, India doesn’t know much about Charlie and isn’t quite sure what to think.

Like Chan-wook’s previous films, the movie is all about vengeance. The director weaves in themes relating to family and friendship, too. But the overly simplistic script ultimately doesn’t deliver anything significant. Once we realize Charlie is a bad guy posing as a yuppie, the film comes off as something along the lines of American Psycho but without the intense gore or weirdly ironic tone. And yet the switch from explicit gore to psychological terror (think American Horror Story) suggests Chan-wook could be moving in the right direction to eventually find a stateside following.


Jeff

 
Jeff started writing about rock ’n’ roll some 20 years ago when he stood in the pouring rain to hitch hike his way to see R.E.M. on their Life’s Rich Pageant tour. Since that time, he's written for various daily newspapers, alt-weeklies, magazines and websites. Feel free to comment on his posts or suggest music, film and art to him at jeff@whopperjaw.net.


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