Stoker is the first English-Language film under the direction of Park Chan-wook, a famous South Korean horror/thriller film director. The screenplay is written by Ted Foulke, pseudonym of Prison Break star Wentworth Miller. The film follows the story of India Stoker (Wasikowska), whose father Richard (Mulroney) died in a car accident. At the funeral, she and her mother Evelyn (Kidman) get to know Richard’s brother Charlie (Goode), who was unknown to them in the past. Charlie decides to stay with India and Evelyn, as they grieve the loss of Richard. India then discovers there is more to the decision of her Uncle Charlie to stay with them to keep them company as she uncovers Charlie’s gruesome past. The film takes us on a journey of thrills as we uncover the real mystery of Charlie and what really happened with Richard Stoker.
The direction of Park Chan-wook is the strongest suit of the film. It was my first time seeing one of his works and I love it. His direction really gives you the thrill you want, keeping you at the edge of your seat as the story slowly unravels. His frequent use of close-ups and unfocused shots added to it as well as the perfect culling of scenes, sequenced just the way you would have wanted it to be.
Wentworth Miller did a good script, although it was a little bit predictable. But still, the unraveling of the mystery of Uncle Charlie was the best. It could have been just your typical psycho thriller, but it will turn out to be one of the best thrillers you will ever watch.
The film was not neglected in terms of acting. Of course you can’t really leave out Nicole Kidman, as she portrayed her role as the unloving, careless mother well, but the kudos go to Wasikowska and Goode. I believe that the two actors were perfectly casted for their roles. Wasikowska portrayed the development of India Stoker very well, with the silent mysterious teenage girl transitioning to a ruthless, unpredictable woman. I have read that Colin Firth got the role of Uncle Charlie first but had to drop out but it was the best thing to happen as Goode was so brilliant for the role. He portrayed the astonishingly handsome yet very mysterious uncle beautifully. You’ll see his right mix of charm and creepiness, as he gets you drawn to his beautiful eyes (thanks to the close-up shots) but really get creeped out afterwards.
One of the best scenes of the film is that infamous sensual piano scene where you’ll feel the sexual tension, the thrill, the awe, the creep and all the other emotions the movie tries to evoke within you, all at the same time. That was really a great scene by Wasikowska and Goode.
The film is truly a must-watch, definitely one of the best films this year. I am looking forward to see more films by Park Chan-wook and I think Wentworth Miller has the potential to write great screenplays in the future, so looking forward to see his scripts as well.
Mia Wasikowska, Nicole Kidman, Matthew Goode, Dermot Mulroney, Jacki Weaver
Stoker is now showing in theaters nationwide.
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