Saturday, July 20, 2013

Review: Stoker

Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Nicole Kidman, Matthew Goode
Directed by: Chan-wook Park
Language: English
Rating: R
Running Time: 99 minutes

I didn't know much about this movie when it was in limited release in theaters. Even coming into it, I only knew the director and not much of a plot. Something about it lured me toward it.

India Stoker recently lost her father and her mother Evelyn decides to invite Charles, India's uncle, to live with them. Uncle Charlie is a very charming character and manages to catch Evelyn's attention. India notices this and she is soon teased by her classmates about her mother and uncle's relationship, while Charles tries to develop a friendship with India. Eventually, India gets pulled into Charles' charming ways and a small tension is created in the house as well as a few twists here and there that alter their relationship.

I must admit that I agree with Eric of Pretty Much It that it felt like looking in on the characters rather than being involved. You don't get a chance to connect with any of the characters or the situation at hand, but that doesn't take away from the enjoyment of the movie. You do get to understand India's hesitation and sudden emotion. Even Evelyn's feelings isn't too out of place, but it is a bit roughly conveyed for me to completely understand her intentions. Luckily, there's not much focus on her and her relationship with India and Charles. That factor takes very little away from understanding and possibly advancing the overall story. The main focus is centered around India and Charles.

I also agree that the visuals are plentiful and appealing. Chan-wook Park is quite good at delivering in that area. They might seem a bit disjointed at times or take you out of the moment, but I believe the purpose was to pull us in the mind of India with small bursts to connect the audience with the character for just a minute. Lastly, I must admit that the opening and ending is very artistically shot, but with added dialogue is a bit puzzling of what the concrete conclusion may be.

Stoker is wonderfully shot and the relationship between India and Charles is intriguing. The dialogue and characters are a little hard to get into, but it doesn't take too much away from the enjoyment of the overall story. It takes some risk and feels like something new in the overwhelming flood of sequels, prequels, remakes, and adaptations that's filling the cinema lately.

Rating: 3/5

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