Stoker is a surprisingly wonderful indie film written by an American television actor, directed by a Korean known for violent action flicks, all told in a suspenseful vein that Alfred Hitchcock would find suitably satisfactory, especially with the themes presented within: a loner child, daddy issues, an ignorant mother, a suspicious uncle, and death, death, death.
Mia Wasikowska is India, the likeably-cliché intelligent teen who turns her focus from the ridicule suffered at school and the inattention of her depressed mother – the un-aging Nicole Kidman – to that of her mysteriously-alluring uncle, who may have clues regarding her father’s death from when she was a child. Uncle Charles, played straight faced-creepy by Matthew Goode, offers India freedom, knowledge and empowerment as well as a few lessons that aren’t always part of the standard learning curve.
Chan-wook Park constructs a visually beautiful movie that perfectly reflects the images, dreams and even memories that would belong to a solitary young woman, all which provide visual clues to the mystery at large. The excellent score by Clint Mansell completes the imagery. However, the first act of the film is terribly slow as the images alone don’t move the narrative forward. Likewise, India’s journey becomes too forced in order to reach the film’s resolution. Chan-wook appears to be more interested in the look of the mystery than getting into the actual character impetus behind that mystery.
Stoker is a creepy cool film to watch. The film is also a killer to get frustrated over.