Thursday, 11 July 2013

Review: Stoker

World of Blackout Catch-up Review

Stoker Poster

Cert: 18 / 98 mins / Dir. Chan-Wook Park

"Just as a flower does not choose its colour, we are not responsible for what we have come to be."

Now that's a bold opening to a bold film. Stoker hovers between arthouse and flat-out melancholia, and while it's not always an easy watch, it's consistently engaging. The film is remarkably shot and edited, but the combination of symbolism and subtext starts to get a little self indulgent by the twenty-minute mark. Thankfully once the scenes branch away from the family home (ie 'once the killing starts') it feels like there's more to get your teeth into, and the gloomy helter-skelter ride begins.

Surprisingly (to me, at least), Mia Wasikowska's centre-parted brooding isn't the films strongest performance, but instead plays a strong support to Matthew Goode in full unhinged-mode. Nicole Kidman keeps her character just on the right side of hysterical, and all in all, the central trio play their roles enigmatically enough to not quite become the sympathetic characters you're left wanting. That's not to say I wasn't on board with Mia's character, India, but it was certainly with a quiet reservation of judgement. The story unfolds beautifully without resorting to twists; don't try and second guess it, just enjoy the performances.

This is a film I wholly recommend, but you definitely have to be in the mood for its eccentricities.

"Sometimes you need to do something bad to stop you from doing something worse…"

Is the trailer representative of the film?
Sort of, but not enough.

Did I laugh, cry, gasp and sigh when I was supposed to?

Does it achieve what it sets out to do?
For me, yes.

Buy, pay to rent, or wait until it's on for free?

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?

Will I watch it again?
Yes, but not right away.

Is there a Wilhelm Scream?

And because you won't be happy until I've given it a score...

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a 'catch-up' review. I watched this film at home, not at the cinema. I saw the trailer for this at the cinema, and I would have seen the film there too, but they didn't/couldn't show it. So now iTunes, Amazon, Netflix and Blockbuster get to reap the rewards of my local's advance-advertising, and I'm sure they're delighted. Now you may say "oh come on, they can't show everything down there", and that would be a valid point if they didn't do things like running Taken 2 for six weeks. Was it that successful? No, I don't think so. Twilight? Batman? Les Mes? Sure, go for it; if they're pulling the punters in then keep making that money. But Taken 2? I ask you. Anyway, this is essentially a DVD review, but still of a new(ish) film. There. I'm glad that's sorted.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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