Friday, 14 February 2014

Stoker Review

Stoker is the English debut for director Park Chan-wook who is probably best known for his South Korean films Oldboy and more recently thirst. Likewise Stoker is Wentworth Millers (who is best known for acting in the tv show Prison Break) first foray into writing a feature film. Which makes it all the more surprising just how well thought out and effective Stoker is along with how beautifully shoot it is (as one would expect from a Park Chan-wook film).

It is India Stokers eighteenth birthday and she is seen searching the grounds she lives on for what turns out to be a present. The present however is empty as apposed to the usual present she receives of new black and white saddle shoes. Soon there after she and her mother discover that her father has died in a car accident and thus instead of celebrating her birthday preparations begin for her fathers funeral. Soon thereafter her Uncle Charlie who India had no idea existed prior to arriving comes to live with India and her mother whom India slowly becomes increasingly intrigued by.

Stoker is likely to divide audiences not only because of the material being presented but also because of how it is presented. The two leads Mia Wasikowska as India and Matthew Goode Charlie like the story provide for incredibly detailed yet nuanced performances. However many of these details are easy to overlook. Both lead characters are also largely detached from there emotions, or lack thereof and when this is combined with the supporting cast having little focus present on them (with the focus being clearly on India and Charlie) I can see many being off put by Stoker. This is especially the case as no particular character is particularly likable. I however did not find this to be an issue and found the nuances that make up this coming of age story to be terrifically executed and endlessly engrossing.

Stoker in many ways is a Hitchcockian film and one that certainly pays tribute to several Hitchcock films which most notably include Shadow of a Doubt and Psycho. With its beautiful presentation, which make some truly horrific moments seem almost beautiful, along with its subtle performances and script Stoker is a film that will no doubt be off putting too many due to its story and how it is presented. None the less Stoker comes with my highest recommendation.

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