Movie Review: Stoker [2013]

My next movie of 2013 is Chan-wook Park's Stoker - a creepy thriller with Nicole KidmanMia Wasikowska, Matthew Goode & Jacki Weaver. The movie is a story of India Stoker (Mia), her mother Evelyn (Nicole) and uncle Charles (Matthew) who unite after the brutal murder of Mr. Stoker.

India is a troubled young girl, opposite of any teenager of her age. She dresses differently, acts weirdly, having no friends and always gets bullies from classmates. The only person she seems to get along is already dead father, who used to take her hunting. This can be her most favorite memories from childhood. India does not enjoy with the company of other people, especially her mother, who's been trying to settle relationship with daughter unsuccessfully. 

Despite being a grown-up, she still feels like a kid needing a care and love of parents. Probably, this is a reason for hating Evelyn - her inability to actually be a mother. Mr. Stoker, on the contrary, is a good father. According to memories of India, he was the only person making her feel like a child. He used to send the same type of childish shoes on every birthday. Every year the shoes looked like the same, only different size.
On her 18th birthday, she gets a present from Charles - high heels - as a mark of grown, independent person. And she starts making decisions by herself, which might lead to disaster or anything else.

Evelyn has been a good wife, but worse mother. She really loves her only daughter, but never managed to be her good friend. While her husband was alive, she did not care much about India, but now she's alone and she needs her. An unexpected visit of Charles - brother of Mr. Stoker - changes a lot. Evelyn starts to spend some time with him, totally forgetting about depressed girl. Charles is a handsome and good man, trying to do his best to make sister-in-law's days easier. It works. But India knows that there is something wrong with him feeling unsafe with him.
But you can't say that she's afraid of uncle, she's more curious, even more charmed by this creepy man. The same time, she does not like him disturbing her quiet life in a big house. Irksome irritation transforms in attraction, as Charles follows her everywhere, giving weird looks every time they face each other.
Stoker is an enjoyable movie, with brilliant acting, writing and creative features. I liked that Park used lots of symbols to deliver the true content of whole film: shoes, gifts, ice cream and etc. Script is beautifully written with very smart and interesting dialogues, the sequence of every event in movie is logical and well fitted. It may seem that all characters are very cold, they almost lack this warmth part of humanity. Their interaction with each other does not go further then average daily dialogues. But it still makes you want to fully explore them and watch movie until the very last second to discover why things go the way they do.
Mia Wasikowska is brilliant choice as India. She's so powerful, I can't actually articulate true extent of her brilliance. She is like a puzzle, unemotional, cold face girl, who never gives her inside feelings away. You never know, what's up her mind. India is a quest - a challenge to discover her personality. Matthew Goode who replaced Collin Firth for this role, does an outstanding job by portraying sociopath uncle. Nicole Kidman lists another great performance in her acting history for being an indifferent, depressed and emotional mother. Her short speech about having children and parenthood is a perfect example of perfect performance.

Cinematography is something that really amazes you in Stoker - it has smart, beautiful and very precise shots which totally help to tell a story. Camera work makes spectacular to explore each character, especially India who turns out to be in the frame of most shots.
And finally, music that makes the whole movie creepier - Clint Marshal's amazing sounds and Philip Glass's perfect piano piece.

All these boils down to my astonishment and final rating 8. One of the best movies seen lately. Totally recommended. 

6 comments:

  1. Glad you liked it, I was a bit disappointed by this. It is very atmospheric but I didn't find the story itself interesting enough.

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  2. yeah, I enjoyed pretty much. I always enjoy with those creepy, cold-character movies. Mia, Nicole and Matthew make this film a lot better.

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  3. The style is definitely different, but the story gets a bit too weird after awhile. Still, I had a nice time not knowing what to expect next. Good review Nika.

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  4. Thanks Dan. Yeah, the story is weird a lot.

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  5. Awesome that you liked it! So far it's my favorite of the year. I'm so glad Goode replaced Firth - I cannot imagine him in such a role.

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  6. It's my top movie too so far (you can see my top 5 on the right sidebar). Firth looks too sweat and kind for being an evil uncle, haha :)

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