Sometimes the best movies surprise you. I have to admit how underwhelmed the trailer for Stoker made me feel when I saw it late last year. To me, it seemed like the trailer was trying too hard to be edgy and hip. It didn’t do anything for me and I wrote it off…until the elusive WOW buzz from other bloggers, colleagues and acquaintances simmered my curiosity and peaked my interest. I’m glad I rejected my gut reaction and attended the promotional screening for Stoker. During the baron movie weeks ahead, you will want to catch up with Stoker primarily because its the only movie being released that pretty much deserves a reaction and discussion. One has to put the pieces back together after it ends. You will want to try to find this movie playing at a nearby theater.
Simple Synopsis: After India’s (Mia Wasikowska) father dies in an auto accident, her Uncle Charlie (Matthew Goode), who she never knew existed, comes to live with her and her emotionally unstable mother. Soon after his arrival, she comes to suspect this mysterious, charming man has ulterior motives, but instead of feeling outrage or horror, this friendless girl becomes increasingly infatuated with him. Her mother (Nicole Kidman) is the widowed mother of India who gets involved and in the way of the relationship between India and Charlie.
This about sums up the plot because like with many great character study thrillers constructed by an intelligent, styled director is the less you know the better it works out for the viewer. You are engaged with the story and rarely does a moment pass by that doesn’t seem important. Overall, there’s a lot for cinephile’s to enjoy from Stoker from the acting, the story, some one-liners even to the tone, but the strongest element is the spellbinding cinematography! Every shot is carefully crafted to develop a character, set a tone, enhance the story, or build tension. This is the kind of work that deserves Oscars! Mia Wasikowska is blossoming into a talented actress of her age bracket. She knows how to deliver the maturity and complexity into a performances. With her performance, she elevates a movie into a different direction. Stoker isn’t a standard ‘bad-seed’ movie.
South Korean filmmaker Park Chan-wook (Oldboy, Thirst) is a master of a grim tone which is fully displayed in Stoker in his American directorial debut. Many movie goers do not expect to follow the path into a more complex story. Watching a movie like Stoker puts a majority of modern Hollywood directors to shame. Reminiscent of an early Hitchcock in his prime, Chan-wook’s relies on the tension, the story, and the actors to bring everything to life!
For many people Stoker has become a divisive film including a wide range diversity of thought including critics, bloggers, and fans have chimed in a both negative and positive response! A divided audience brings about some great debate. Put me in the ‘love it’ category! If you’ve seen Stoker, what did you think? Was the ending satisfying? How was the English language American debut from Park Chan-wook? Please let me know your thoughts below.