Imagine that you’re not part of the cultish fan base of the Korean director Park Chan-wook (Oldboy) and you go to see his bizarrely stylized first English-language film, Stoker. What on earth will you make of it? The movie is about a dour 18-year-old, India Stoker (Mia Wasikowska), who loses her beloved father (Dermot Mulroney) and attaches herself to her uncle Charlie: a transparently sinister and opportunistic creep played by Matthew Goode with a gigolo’s smirk that says, ”Look at me, I’m up to no good!” The movie wants to be Hitchcockian, but it’s the flat-footed Hitchcock of Marnie that Park evokes. His filmmaking here is hermetic and lugubrious, with each physical movement meaninglessly heightened and every line hanging in the air with (empty) significance. The central situation, however, remains obvious beyond words. There is no mystery in Stoker, only ”style,” and a stultifying sense that the world’s been rigged with evil. C-
'STOKING' THE FIRE Nicole Kidman and Mia Wasikowska star in the thrilling Stoker (Macall Polay)
Genre: Drama; Starring: Nicole Kidman, Dermot Mulroney, Mia Wasikowska; Director: Chan-wook Park; Runtime (in minutes): 100; MPAA Rating: R; Distributor: 20th Century Fox Film Corporation
Posted January 17 2015 — 5:04 PM EST
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