4.5 out of 5
Don’t judge the book by its cover, nor judge a film script by the hotness of its writer. Stoker is the brainchild of Wentworth Miller, a k a that hot guy from Prison Break. Miller proved that he isn’t just a pretty face because the one and only Park Chan-Wook took his script and made it real. For those who are not familiar with Park Chan-Wook, he’s the mad genius behind South Korean gems such as Joint Security Area, Sympathy for Lady Vengeance, Oldboy, and my personal favourite… Thirst.
There are few Asian directors who tried to cross to Hollywood, but not all of them succeeded. Ang Lee is an exception because he studied filmography in Taiwan and the US, therefore he understands the characteristics of both cultures. Many could never bridge the cultural differences, ending in just creating a western remake of an eastern story. Park Chan-Wook is famous for his pristine cinematography. Each frame is like a beautiful, even very romanticized, vintage photography. Many of his scenes depict stillness that tells a story. It seems like he has this vision of putting romantic western ideas into eastern style of story telling.
The great thing about Stoker is the stability of the story that slowly rises into climax on perfect timing. Stoker is one of very few films that can combine fashion with drama in which the characters seem to be jumping out of the pages of W magazine. Matthew Goode plays the mysterious Uncle Charlie by combining Sean Connery’s sinister character in Hitchcock’s Marnie with Haley Joel Osment’s boyishness in Shyamalan’s Sixth Sense. Nicole Kidman is bitter and tragic as the insecure Evie, while Mia Wasikowska is truly convincing as the conniving India Stoker. In short, Stoker is like the R-rated Addams Family that can hypnotize you with a stare.