Everybody has to figure out who they are in life and several great Films have been made about the subject of Coming of Age. None however, are quite like Chan-Wook Park‘s Stoker, the English-language Debut from the Director responsible for Cult Classic Old Boy, Screenplay by talented and far under-utilized Actor Wentworth Miller. Juxtaposing blood and beauty, the Psychological-Thriller although at moments Hitchcockian is unlike anything we’ve seen and anything you’ll ever forget.
After the death of Richard (Dermot Mulroney), the world of Evelyn (Nicole Kidman) and Daughter India (Mia Wasikowska) falls apart. Mysteriously, Richard‘s estranged Brother Charlie (Matthew Goode) appears and both Mother and Daughter find themselves irresistibly drawn to him as he charms, seduces and slithers his way into their Home. Something however is not right about Uncle Charlie – or the entire Household for the matter – and we learn through this through several warning signs, but those who try to get in his way of Evelyn and India‘s approval don’t stick around for long. The real mystery here is why Charlie is so compelled to get to India and as we soon learn, he has a deeply buried secret or five of his own.
Park is a Master of Tension and keeps us off-center throughout Stoker. Yes, it is over-the-top, but at the same time it is elegant and understated in its impeccable styling. The Film is defined by its lingering inappropriate Sexual Tension and he evokes mood through several cleverly-cut images into scenes. Without opting for the gory route, often violence is assumed through objects and their aftermath.
No Thriller is complete without fine Scoring and Fans of Black Swan will appreciate Clint Mansell‘s work once again. Several nuanced moments draw us helplessly into the psyches of the three Principal Characters and despite sparse dialogue, we absolutely get the picture thanks to superb performances of the Ensemble Cast. Rising Star Wasikowska is carefully repressed until late where she undergoes a true transformation, finally realizing India‘s true self and Goode is just perfect here – impossible not to be fixated on his soulless gaze. Kidman nails Evelyn‘s instability, desperateness and vulnerability.
Although it remains to be seen whether the Art this is Stoker will be appreciated on a wide scale by the Moviegoing Public which loves its Horror Franchise Sequels, the Film is an absolute Masterpiece – well worth the wait for Park‘s English-speaking Fans. Fox Searchlight releases Stoker in Toronto on March 1, 2013.