Stoker (2013)

Stoker is the directorial debut of Park Chan-wook in Hollywood and a creepy family tale about a girl struggling with the death of her father

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Stoker is the first Hollywood film made by the South Korean director Park Chan-wook and stars Nicole Kidman and Mia Wasikowska.

So what words can we use to describe this film with? This is a psychological thriller, like well everything Park Chan-wook has ever made. The script is written by Wentworth Miller, currently known as Michael Scofield on Prison Break or Leonard Snart in The CWs Arrowverse and is a dramatic tale of a young girl named India Stoker trying to figure out what happened when her father tragically dies in the beginning of the film.

Nicole Kidman stars as Indias mother and does some of her finest acting. You can sense that she is sceptical to everything and does not have a very good relationship with her daughter. Kidman portrays this mother as a fragile woman uncertain on how to look after her estranged daughter.

There are a lot of Hitchcock themes in this film. A Likeable criminal Uncle Charlie, played by also the phenomenal Matthew Goode, and the movie is clear as day inspired by Shadow of a Doubt. There are a whole lot of symbolism which Hitchcock also was known to be a master of.
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The big weakness of Stoker is the script. This is nothing compared to some of Park Chan-wooks earlier films. Where Oldboy is astonishingly beautiful this does not manage to capture the drama of the films he is most known for.

This is a movie where everything that is supposed to go to hell. goes to hell. It is unbelievable. Clocking in at one and a half hours and everything happens so fast. And after around half the movie you really see how bad the script is

Of course Park Chan-wook is a master of dark mysterious characters and narratives where nothing is as it seems. And he may be the best movie director alive at doing that. Considering the quality of the script he has made a movie that is not half bad. But it is also not good. It is the ultimate definition of completely OK

The violence in this movie is blatant and most of the time unrealistic and the acting of Mia Wasikowska is not believable at all. When the violent parts of a movie is boring to watch you may start to wonder. What is the point in this? Lady vengeance and Oldboy has some beautifully choreographed violence. This does not. It is boring.
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The music in this movie is made by Clint Mansell, a man known for having quite a lot of knowledge on how to make great scores for very dramatic thrillers, and it works out very well. His use of dramatic orchestral instruments and pianos manages to capture the feeling that something is not OK here, and some sound effects that keep going throughout the movie is goosebumps material.

The cinematography is being done by Chung Chung-hoon. and that guy knows how to capture creepy atmospheres with a camera. He is a recurring cinematographer in most of Park Chan-wooks movies.

It is a pity that Park Chan-wooks debut in english moviemaking is such a mediocre film. Cause he is one of the best directors that has ever lived. He takes Stoker, a script lacking everything the man usually loves and does his very best. Quality actors like Nicole Kidman and Matthew Goode also helps, but where is the clues? Everything happens so fast and seems so confusing you just sit there wondering what the hell just happened?  This is not a bad film, due to some solid acting and some amazing sound effects, but it is far from being worthy of Park Chan-wooks directing. Rather go see The Handmaiden

Score: 5/10

Trailer. 

13 comments on “Stoker (2013)”

  1. The cinematography does look beautiful from the images you posted.
    I majored in film in college. Great review!

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  2. Well hmmm. Some of your descriptions made me want to see this, especially the way you talked about the mother because it sort of reminded me of mine in some ways (though certainly the pictures didn’t). But I don’t really get to watch a lot of movies, no time, so “sort of OK” probably won’t make my list, haha.

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  3. I’m familiar with the director but, I doubt ill see this flick because anything scary or gripping genre is not my thing. Your review was very helpful to understanding aspects if the film that would interest folks who might see it.

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  4. anytime i need a new movie i now know the exact blog to go to for inspiration thanks for sharing

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