It’s been a while since I have seen a movie oozing with such raw originality than Stoker. It is literally unlike any movie I have ever seen before.
Directed by Hong Kong genius Chan-wook Park, who gave us Oldboy and Sympathy for Lady Vengeance, the film has a captivating look that is striking from the opening scene. The scene depicts a young girl standing in meadow of long grass but Park is able to bring a sense of darkness and mystery. This is all established just from the chosen angles or blocking of the shot.
Blocking is something that is astonishing when watching Stoker. The seamless blending of weird blocked scenes evoking hidden emotion reminded me some the brilliance of the French New Wave especially Jean Luc Goddard.
The film’s story supports my theory the movie was tapping into French New Wave. India (Mia Wasikowska) has just lost her father and her mother (Nicole Kidman) has become a wreck. To help with the pain, her uncle (Matthew Goode) comes to stay with them. He takes a shine to India and they develop a real unhealthy relationship. But the more India learns about her uncle and her long dead father (Dermot Mulroney), a deep dark family secret unravels.
Mixed with gothic undertones and a film noir style, Wentworth Miller‘s script really was the perfect project to revisit French New Wave and bring Chan-wook Park to Western audiences. (Yes that is not a typo, Wentworth Miller, star of Fox’s Prison Break series)
Matthew Goode gives a tour de force performance which is very reminscent of the classic vampire mixed with smarmy used car salesman. Kidman adds extra bite to what could have been a throwaway character.
But really it is the visual style that steals the movie.
The movie won’t have the masses flocking to cineplexes but if you wanna get a little freaked out and challenged then this flick is for you!
4.5 out of 5
So Says the Soothsayer
-Movie Madness #181-
- Stoker Press Conference Highlights with Chan-wook Park, Nicole Kidman, Matthew Goode and Mia Wasikowska (dreadcentral.com)
- Stoker. Buildup, buildup, buildup, bleh…. (filmbyfelix.com)
- New Stoker Clip Is Family (dreadcentral.com)
- Nicole Kidman Dances Seductively With Matthew Goode in New ‘Stoker’ Clip (aceshowbiz.com)