Film Review: Stoker

A stylish thriller - starring Nicole Kidman

A stylish thriller

Visionary South Korean director,  Chan-Wook Park – famed for his 2003 film Oldboy, takes his debut plunge into the English speaking pool with a tale of grotesque sexual fantasy and morbid carnage adapted from Alfred Hitchcock’s 1943 suburban nightmare, Shadow of Doubt.

After the death of her beloved father, the dejected India (Wasikowska) and her capricious mother Evelyn (Kidman), play host to the unsettling brother of the deceased Charlie (Goode), who was nothing more than a mystery to India before his arrival at the funeral. The pair become slaves to the charisma of their new house guest and India believes he is going to fill the destitute hole left in her family by her late father, but soon after his arrival she comes to the conclusion that he has ulterior motives and becomes infatuated with him.

Nicole Kidman gives an unconvincing performance as the grieving wife Evelyn, its hard to believe that she has just lost a husband when she is going out for ice cream the day after her partner has been laid to rest, even if the narrative suggests that the two were not close. Jane Eyre star Mia Wasikowska provides a stand out performance as the gloomy teenage loner India, who has a use for her number two pencil which is very unconventional. Although up staging them both, is the English actor Matthew Goode who gives a chilling performance as the deranged uncle Charlie, who uses his belt for more than to hold up his trousers.

I’m not too sure about this film, on the one hand it is visually stunning with a great use of colour and some admirable camerawork, but on the other hand there is some disjointed editing and lacks in narrative until the third act.  Although the sinister imagery was compelling enough to maintain my interest and certain scenes will stick in my mind for a long time to come.

Director: Park Chan-wook
Cast: Matthew Goode, Mia Wasikowska, Nicole Kidman
Runtime: 99 min
Cert UK: 18


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