After India’s father dies, her Uncle Charlie, who she never knew existed, comes to live with her and her unstable mother. She comes to suspect this mysterious, charming man has ulterior motives and becomes increasingly infatuated with him.
Director: Chan-wook Park
Stoker caught my attention with two different facts: this is director Chan-wook Park’s first English film. If you don’t know him, he is a pretty prolific and successful writer/director in Korea, and created what I think is one of the top 10 most influential films of this decade, Oldboy. I’d have to warn that it is an intense film with some mind-altering events, but it is also cinematic gold. The other fact: this film was written by Prison Break actor Wentworth Miller, and it’s his first screenplay. To attract a director like Park, the screenplay has to be pretty awesome.
To start the film, we are introduced to a technical production idea that I have never seen (or heard) in cinema before. Explained by Wasikowska’s character in the opening line, “My ears hear what others cannot hear;…“. Throughout the course of the film, extremely precise and accurate microphones are used to capture every sound ever made, and those ambient, background noises are made louder so that the viewer can hear them just as well as they can the dialogue. I can’t explain in words how much I enjoyed such an experience, and it paired with the tight, close-up shooting style the film used beautifully.
The casting of the film was wonderful, as well. Although you can find online that many other bigger names were considered and even cast for these roles, the final product fits very well with the actors’ abilities and typecasts. This is the first time I can remember seeing Goode on screen, but it seems like the role was written for him.
From a technical aspect, this film is awesome. It’s one of the more complete and quality productions I’ve seen this year. The editing, cinematography, color palette, soundtrack, the previously mentioned audio work, and overall direction all run fluidly into a complete thriller movie package.
The production paired with the story create a sometimes elegant character study, then erupt into thrilling, horrifying, intense content.
3.5/4 – I am not a scary movie/thriller movie kind of guy, but rarely have I been so encapsulated by a film’s technical production and direction, all of which combine to create a quality thrill ride.