Stoker (2013)

Stoker movie review

stoker movie review

Park Chan-wook tickles and tantalises his fans and admirers with a leftfield, and quintessentially Park-ian, take on the American gothic sub-genre. Come for names on the poster, stay for the art direction… 

Directed by Park Chan-wook / Written by Wentworth Miller / Starring Mia Wasikowska, Matthew Goode, Nicole Kidman / Cinematography by Chung Chung-hoon / Music by Clint Mansell / Production by Scott Free Productions, Indian Paintbrush

Mysterious and gorgeous, Stoker is the first English-language feature from Korean genre playboy Park Chan-wook. Mixing twisted family drama with none-too-elaborate murder mystery, Stoker is both a gothic nightmare and an interior designer’s wet dream. Heavily reliant on the central characters’ insanity, the plot starts on shaky ground and never quite stabilises to become plausible. Fortunately, Park doesn’t care in the least about plausibility; he’s more interested in capturing the glorious extreme born of his obsessive, kitschy personal aesthetic and its mating with the grand tradition of gothic atmospherics in the design, architecture and stories of the American South. The house is the star, as is the Tennessee countryside in which the film is shot, and the players are merely elaborate props to complement the decor. Nonetheless, the uniformly excellent cast of Matthew Goode, Mia Wasikowska and Nicole Kidman hold their own against the rich colours and painterly camera movements to enrich a film that feels like any of Park’s best: a total kinaesthetic symphony of ‘PHWAAARRR!!’ The end result is magnetic, luxurious and saturated with calories. Highly recommended.

Stoker movie review

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