Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Genre: Drama, Mystery, Thriller
Run Time: 1 hour, 38 minutes, Rated R
Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Nicole Kidman, Matthew Goode, Dermot Mulroney, Phyllis Somerville, Jacki Weaver
Written by Wentworth Miller
Directed by Chan-wook Park (Oldboy, Lady Vengeance, Thirst)
Wentworth Miller is an actor best known for his role as Michael Scofield on the cancelled Fox TV series, Prison Break. With Stoker, Miller branches out as a writer, having penned the screenplay to this dark and somewhat disturbing thriller.
Mia Wasikowska plays young India Stoker, a quiet, unpopular and distant creature, whom we first meet as she sits next to her mother (Nicole Kidman) at her father's funeral. She barely speaks and we see that she does not seem to fit in at school, at home, or on this planet, perhaps. Understandably, her father has just died and the two were much closer than India and her mother, who is trying too little too late to be there for India. When India's Uncle Charlie (Matthew Goode) shows up, we can tell be his creepy vibe that this is not good news.
The two share many things in common, but to reveal them all here would be to spoil the plot. Let's just say that the Uncle has taken a liking to his niece and that India slowly begins to break out of her shell.
The film itself is an unsettling journey, mostly because it zigs every time the audience is expecting a zag. Directed by Chan-wook Park, he immediately creates a strong visual style that is artistic and disturbing, never seeming to let the film relax. Its a good thing, because Miller's story - although not necessarily predictable - doesn't provide much excitement in and of itself.
Most of the characters are one-dimensional and a bit stiff, but Park makes this film more about seeing rather than believing. It attempts to delve deep into a dark and twisted place where most films are afraid to go. Surely, this will turn off some audience members, whose expectations limit what they may approve of. But there is no other film quite like Stoker, a fanciful coming-of-age journey told in the strangest of ways.
Hunting with her father, India learns to wait...and wait...before taking the shot. Stoker never quite seemed to pull the trigger, but the intense and shocking build up made the hunt well worth it
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