Monday, August 12, 2013

Saturday Movies: Stoker (2013)

The critically acclaimed director of Oldboy released Stoker earlier this year. While it didn't really stir a lot of talk it is well done artistically, but the characters might be so odd that you feel a little disturbed watching it. You always want to be able to connect with someone in the movie though, and in this one you lack that one person you feel like you could relate to. Also, it seems to focus on being more dark and artsy than anything without any focus on building the plot or the people involved.

Summary: India's father dies mysteriously. Her mother, Evelyn, seems to be trying some attempts to reach out to her, but seems more interested in India's uncle who has now appeared after her father's death. Her uncle seems to have some interest in her that she isn't aware of where it stems from. There are some mysterious disappearances occurrences that have happened since he appeared that she can't quite look over though. Her own volatile rage that is appearing though is frightening her even more.

Acting: The acting is decent in this movie, but everyone is too like a cartoon. Nothing seems real about the people they are portraying, and the acting seems to ooze that. Nicole Kidman seems to show the most range of emotions, but most the movie is spent making serious gazes as you see on the poster, and looking bewildered. Kidman can act, so I think it was just the character wasn't very dimensional. Then there is Matthew Goode as the creepy uncle, Charles. Again, I think he just portrayed it straight up eerie, and forgot to make the guy with any other layers. I get what he is would limit that, but his stare was just blank and big eyed. He has some moments where you get some charm, and you understand why Evelyn has let this guy into her life. Mia Wasikowska was lead as, India. She had some good scenes, and I believe she can act. She also seems she is very caught up on this artsy, quiet, weird girl thing that just limits her. The liberation she was trying to achieve was a nice touch, but again something felt so limited from her making her a real person.

Filming: What is the strong point is all the beautiful shots. The director, Chan-Wook Park seems to just have gotten so caught on making everything eerie that he forgot to make a story. The composition is well done, and all the scenes have something interesting to gaze at about them. He also over does it though. He does have creative transitions. Like India running a brush through her mother's hair and it turning into a field, and other similar ones. It is used to the point where it becomes too obvious. The movie has a lot going for it visually, but there is no story to add to that power.

Plot: The story moves a lot slower than you would hope as well. Nothing really builds suspense since you know who is already the odd person, and what they are capable of. You also feel no connection to the mom and daughter, so you feel no anticipation about whether they will discover anything before someone is murdered. In a movie so full of life and color visually, it has such bland characters. By the end when everything is coming together we hit a good pace, particularly when we begin discovering character's past, and getting a glimpse into what has happened to the dad.

Stoker has a lot of artsy things going for it. The cast has no chemistry though, and I think the writing and development of the characters didn't leave the actors a lot to to work with. Had it made a little more thriller or horror out of the plot it might have achieved more, because it doesn't even really terrify you or leave you in suspense. You just have a lot of pretty shots.

Rating 7 of 10.

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