Movie Review: Stoker (2013)

Here is our movie review of the film Stoker ..

The Koreans have conquered the smart-phone global market. Can they conquer Hollywood too? Park Chan-wook famous for his Korean speaking revenge thrillers Oldboy, Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, and Lady Vengeance has adapted the screenplay from Wentworth Miller (the blue eyed Prison Break actor who has only one facial expression for every emotion) to the big screen. This erotic, gothic, girl coming of age thriller seems to have won a number of reviewers hearts.

With the backing of Ridley Scott’s production company, there is a certainly a lot of expectations on the Asian director who cites Hitchcock as the idol who influenced his decision in a film career. Park is not just a director but a film auteur who creates montages in every scene to convey messages to his audiences. While not every scene works effectively and some did bore me, his cinematographer’s artistic representation of each scene is beautiful to watch.

Park directing Kidman and Goode

Stoker is a Korean styled movie for Hollywood

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Performances are often at times a little stiff, terse or forced, as if the actors have to restrict their performance to the director’s requirements instead of their own. It is in many ways similar in style to the old Hollywood movies. Film buffs will have a fun time identifying Hitchcockian elements in Stoker. An obvious characteristic noted by many Stoker reviewers is the protagonist, Uncle Charlie (Matthew Goode), which is has the same name and certain characteristics of the villain in Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt.


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I can’t help but mention how Nicole Kidman embodies the Caucasian version of the stereotyped beautiful Korean actresses who go under the knife and take injections to enhance beauty and maintain youth. Kidman’s plastic facade however does not overshadow her acting skills. Her portrayal of an affection-starved upper class mother who is unable to develop a strong relationship with her daughter, India, while being envious of her daughter’s once close relationship with her now deceased husband, is commendable.

India Stoker

While I felt Mia Wasikowska had been mis-casted in Alice in Wonderland, she fitted the lead role of India Stoker, the pale nubile with emotionless expression hiding the woman that she is blossoming into, and the attraction and suspicion she has of Uncle Charlie. There is some over acting in some areas but I suspect this is the request from the director.

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A famous scene in Stoker

For those we do not enjoy artsy films, if you can sit pass the first 30minutes of the discontinuous editing and some tedious performances, you will be rewarded with a better remainder of the show. Stoker has been screening since 7 March 2013.

Original synopsis:

After India’s (Mia Wasikowska’s) father dies in an auto accident, her Uncle Charlie (Matthew Goode), who she never knew existed, comes to live with her and her emotionally unstable mother Evelyn (Nicole Kidman). Soon after his arrival, she comes to suspect this mysterious, charming man has ulterior motives, but instead of feeling outrage or horror, this friendless girl becomes increasingly infatuated with him.

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