Thursday, September 4, 2014

Stoker (2013)

The people involved with this movie was enough to pique my interest.  I'll watch anything that Chan-wook Park is involved in, and then it turns out that Wenworth Miller wrote the screenplay.  Even Harmony Korine is in this movie.  So you couldn't pry me away, even though I had to wait for the DVD to come through the ACTUAL mail, which is just becoming harder and harder for me to deal with.  I'll admit that Netflix's instant offerings are improving, but having to wait for one disc at a time to watch Game of Thrones is getting a little out of hand.  Anyway, I digress.  I tried my best to keep spoilers out of this, but this movie is kinda hard to explain!!

I notice Park's influence from the beginning.  Just the intense focus on small things -- the hardboiled egg, the spider crawling up India's leg, the tennis balls spilling across the court.  And of course, this beautiful shot:

The details enthralled me in his other films, and I see they will continue here.  Now for the story.  On India's (Mia Wasikowska) birthday, while she searches for her hidden gift, her father is killed in a car accident.  After the funeral, she meets her father's brother/her uncle, Charlie (Matthew Goode) who announces he will be moving in to support India and her mother, Evelyn (Nicole Kidman).

India is reluctant to have Charlie stay at their home, while Evelyn cozies right up to him.  When India's Aunt Gwendolyn (Jacki Weaver) comes to visit, things get a little hostile, and she decides to stay at a hotel instead.  Meanwhile, it turns out that Uncle Charlie may not be the laid-back world traveler he claims to be.

At school, India is frequently bullied by the popular crowd.  When she fights back, she is joined by Whip (Alden Ehrenreich) who commends her for the act, and they meet up again later, unfortunately for Whip.  While searching her dead father's items, she learns about her Uncle Charlie's past.  But rather than being repulsed, she India is intrigued, while Evelyn is all "bitch, you stole my man!"

While this movie was certainly no Vengeance trilogy, it was just so interesting and compelling in many ways.  With a unique script, and Park's great directorial touch, it really is worth a watch.  I found the acting to be excellent as well--even though I didn't think much of Nicole Kidman going into it, she was well-cast as a Stepford-ish lush, and Wasikowska blossomed beautifully throughout, from a sulky teenager to a cold-blooded psycho.  Don't miss this one!