After India Stoker (Mia Wasikowska) lost her father Richard (Dermot Mulroney) in a terribly tragic auto accident, her uncle Charlie (Matthew Goode) arrives to help the family get over the loss. However, India was never made aware of Charlie’s existence and is sceptical of his motives. But soon she finds solace in his helping ways, and they bond together against India’s emotionally unstable mother Evie (Nicole Kidman). This charming and mysterious man has ulterior motives though and instead of feeling outraged by this, India finds herself becoming infatuated with Charlie, making him the only person she can really turn to in the whole of the Stoker family.
Stoker sees the first ever English language film for director Park Chan-Wook, who gave us the stunning ‘Revenge’ trilogy (Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance, Oldboy and Lady Vengeance). Sticking to what his field of expertise is – dark horror with elements of humour, he has continued to craft another film that will sit perfectly in his own self-made genre of twisted tales that form a theme of sexual orientation, the feeling of remorse and total obsession.
Stoker is a film that starts off very slowly and never really picks up any pace, but this is no bad thing. In fact it takes a while before we really felt like we had become one with the storyline and were hooked into what would happen next. It’s very much a case of ‘wait to be drawn in’ rather than ‘force’ anything, and for the waiting you will be rewarded with a great film. It’s also interesting to note the film was written by Wentworth Miller, from TV’s Prison Break and the Resident Evil films.
Nicole Kidman is the only big Hollywood name here, and her role is very small yet she does play it with great gravitas. Matthew Goode is rather understated. His snide and conniving tendencies are constantly bubbling under the surface, yet he manages to withdrawn these emotions into himself for so long as to raise suspicion inside the family. A poisoned snake at its finest.
But this film completely belongs to Mia Wasikowska; she could not have given a better performance. Her rebellious teenage attitude echoes that of Brando’s in The Wild One but with more internal struggles. As we begin to follow her infatuation with her uncle its clear to see that she is one going to be a huge star with the right films – her constant battles with her drunken mother set against her trying to deal with her troublesome years shows some amazing acting from Wasikowska. She has the ability to tell a story through her eyes – they are so magnetic.
Stoker is at the top end of the indie film scale. It may be far too slow for some people but if you allow the film to come to you then you will be rewarded with a beautifully shot, wonderfully written and brilliantly acted psychological thriller. It’s a movie of raw emotion that will echo for years to come.