Movies / Home Theatre

Stoker - A Different Psycho Drama

By Hervé St-Louis
June 16, 2013 - 21:10

After the mysterious death of Richard Stoker, his brother, Charley Stoker moves in with his widow Evelyn and 18-year-old daughter India. Both Evelyn and India fall to the charming and creepy Charley which came back from nowhere after so many years. While Evelyn is a borderline nutcase grieving the passing of her husband, India is attracted to something more sinister that she perceives in Charley.

If you are a fan of such fare, let me spell it clearly. Yes it is disturbing. If you want to see gore, let me dispel any doubt. The gore is minimal and many of the murders we don’t even see or understand that they have happened until late in the movie. There are strong hints, but there aren’t always bodies or murder scenes to be seen. It’s a very evocative movie with a slow pace and build up. Absolutely everything that is said, seen and done is a clue to something else, and it only makes sense at the end, or if you watch it a few times. I didn’t dare.

Charley is as creepy as it gets. Comic book fans who pay attention will remember actor Matthew Goode as Ozymandias from the Watchmen film. Nicole Kidman plays a nutcase as good as ever. Her madness is manic and can be seen in her body language and gesture. As for India, actress Mia Wasikowska portrays her as almost emotionless but she has an uncanny level of depth that is very uneasy. This is Korean director Park Chan-wook’s first English-language film. Not much was edited from the film. One scene, with an old aunt should have been kept but otherwise, his original vision seems to be untouched. Chan-wook, manga fans and film buffs may recall, adapted Garon Tsuchiya and Nobuaki Minegishi’s Old Boy to much acclaim in 2003.

What many viewers will find the most macabre in this film is not the violence but the masturbation and incest scenes. Chan-wook treats his entire film as an art film so that everything seems figurative and poetic even as it dawn upon the audience that something is wrong. Much of the disturbance is so subtle that it may not be noticed until later. Yet, as creepy as this film was, it will not haunt you long.  Well, there is a scene where a toddler dies and the horror and madness behind the murder are completely masked in “grandiose cinematography.” Yes, it’s a smart movie

Rating: 8 /10

Last Updated: August 31, 2023 - 08:12

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