Country: UK, USA, South Korea
Genre: Drama, Mystery, Thriller
Director: Park Chan-wook
Writer: Wentworth Miller
Music: Clint Mansell
Cinematography: Chung Chung-hoon
STOKER is South Korean director Chan-wook Park’s Hollywood debut, a screenplay written by Wentworth Miller (not-just-a-pretty-face from PRISON BREAK), and the trinity of the stars in the poster seems alluring, but bears the height of his vengeance trilogy (2002-2005), most likely it would end up to be another mishap of exotic directors lose their mojo under the high-handed industry regulations. But STOKER suffices as a hotbed for the monomania runs in the family bloodline, a maniac returns to his long-lost family and enkindles the evil out of his only kin, sounds like a horror-slasher, but the film tends to be a rite-of-passage for our protagonist India, a girl lost his father at her 18th birthday, meanwhile, murders are all around the family, even the trailer neither cares to hush up the victims nor to reveal the culprit (poor two-times Oscar nominee Jacki Weaver).
The ethereal atmosphere is ubiquitous in the film, sets against the contemporary society, the family basically is insulated in its villa, with succinct tête-à-têtes and reserved rejoinders among three leading characters, which does not effectively propel the storyline, it is the detailed camerawork, meticulously heaps up the triangle incestuous appeal among the three, Chan-wook adopts quite a few uncommon modi operandi to hone up the tension and flashback the hidden history of the past, the stop-motion shots in the beginning and the incessant time-and-space jump montages might engender some inconvenience for the eyes, but undoubtedly they lend the film a posh brio, so is the tableaux-alike settings, jibes with the oriental philosophy of subdued emotion under a placid surface.
Mia Wasikowska excels herself in upholding her morose frostiness, the masturbating orgasm could be regarded as a metaphor for her career-elevation, sheds the protection of adolescence and challenges herself to darker and more dangerous orbit, Alice doesn’t live there anymore! Matthew Goode, albeit his very underused career path, finally secures a leading role excavating his double-faced charm and menace, even after his real identity has been unearthed and his doom has been pre-designed, he still launches a sympathetic glamour in his inexplicable possession towards his niece whom he has never seen before. Nicole Kidman, whom I find perplexed to take on such an unsympathetic and flat role and if as rightful as it is reported, a tailor-made request from Chan-wook.
Finally, its has a killing soundtrack, a cocktail of Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazlewood’s SUMMER WINE and a quasi-vampire allegory, I’ve found my snug corner to embrace the 99 minutes of how slaughter becomes a genetic heredity and the frisson is all over the place!