Friday, June 07, 2013

Review - Stoker (2013)

Starring Mia Wasikowska, Matthew Goode and Nicole Kidman.
Directed by Park Chan-wook.

Oldboy director Park Chan-wook finally makes his English-language debut with Stoker. We meet the Stoker family, led by India Stoker (Mia Wasikowska) - a strange and distant teenager. After her father is killed in a car accident, her strange uncle Charles (Matthew Goode) whom she never knew existed, moves into the house with her and her mother Evelyn (Nicole Kidman). India doesn't seem to trust her uncle and as the movie goes along, we learn the truth about the Stoker family.

Stoker is an odd film. At the beginning, I wasn't sure what this film was trying to achieve -- to which I blame on the not-so-great storytelling and rather quick scenes. We are supposed to be getting to know the main characters but at the same time, they aren't given much to work with script-wise. The acting is good in this film - especially Matthew Goode's role as the mysterious uncle. Mia Wasikowska did her thing too - she was like a modern day Wednesday Addams. India and Charles both stayed in character well and created this mysterious aura between them. Nicole Kidman was solid too as the emotionally distraught mother. While I was intrigued by these characters, at the same time I was also bored with the story.

Stoker's cinematography is lovely and I admired its distinct sound design. It's pretty to look at and there were impressive shots that blended well. Chan-wook was able to create an eerie atmosphere to go along with its characters. Unfortunately I didn't get a lot of chills or thrills from this film like I had hoped for - so I'm stuck watching the Stoker family do rather uninteresting stuff and interactions for much of the film. However the last thirty minutes is where Stoker was able to really capture my attention when a twist is revealed. This helped the movie in my opinion; it got better for me and delivered a decent conclusion. However at the end of the day, I was still a bit disappointed at the lack of build-up within the story to this point.

There is a lot to admire about Stoker but I really think it could have used some stronger writing- especially in the first half of the film. Overall it's a tame start for Park Chan-wook.

Rating: 6.5/10

Movies Also Watched:

Ordinary People (1980)
An emotional family drama. Mary Tyler Moore was such a turd but that was a good thing. - 8/10

Invasion Of The Body Snatchers (1978)
I haven't seen the original yet but I quite enjoyed this movie's sinister concept of aliens and paranoia. - 9.5/10

O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)
I enjoyed this fun, odd and whimsical comedy - along with its singing bits. - 8/10

The Island On Bird Street (1997)
Warm and inspiring. Jordan Kiziuk carried this film well. - 8.5/10

Solaris (2002)
I like the concept and visuals but I think Soderbergh tried way too hard with this one. It came off as a bit pretentious. - 6.5/10

The Gods Must Have Been Crazy (1981)
So different, hilarious and silly in its own way. - 8.5/10

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005)
An enjoyable comedy thriller with amusing and witty dialogue. - 8.5/10


  1. I was really looking forward to this one so maybe that is why I was disappointed by it . It is not bad and very stylish but I expected much more. Good Review!

    1. Thanks Erik. I share the same sentiments!

  2. Good review Shawna. A bit weird and random, but still very creepy and fun in it's own odd way. That's the way I like my thrillers, no matter who's in them.

    1. Thanks Dan. It is an odd film but it's watchable.

  3. Reviews are all over the place with this one...I'm really hoping I like it though. Nice one Shawna!!!!