Stoker is one of those films that seems to divide people on what genre it belongs in and whether or not it’s a truly good film. Some call it horror, while others call it a mystery/thriller. I find it to be a really wonderful throwback to the time when Alfred Hitchcock knew how to keep us on the edge of our seats. Since Mr. Hitchcock is readily accepted into the world of horror, I like to include Stoker in it as well.
Directed by Chan-wook Park of “Oldboy” infamy, Stoker is a quiet, gorgeous piece of film. We are introduced to India (Mia Wasikowska) on her birthday while she excitedly searches for her yearly gift. Found in a tree, it’s a perfect white box with a perfect yellow ribbon. Inside of the yellow tissue paper, India finds only a key. Up until this birthday, India has always received a new pair of saddle shoes. Unfortunately, she will not receive her shoes and she will not see her father return home, either.
At her father’s funeral, India notices a well dressed man watching the service from a distance. This mysterious stranger will turn up at the wake and be introduced to her as her Uncle Charlie,played by Matthew Goode. Until this moment, India had no idea she had an uncle and she is immediately suspicious of him. When Mrs. McGarrick, the longtime housekeeper, sees Charles she becomes immediately pale and visibly distraught. India is the only one who sees this and it only makes her more curious.
What proceeds from here is a delicate cat and mouse game between India and Charles. Charles is clearly insistent on forging a bond with India, but she remains hesitant. While Charles preys upon the loneliness of his brother’s widow, Evelyn (Nicole Kidman), India begins to learn the truly dark connection between herself and her uncle.
Written by Wentworth Miller, Stoker is a delectable morsel of mystery, suspense and horror. Goode is magnetically charming in his perfectly cut clothing and impeccable grooming. Wasikowska plays India with a perfect balance of observant loner with an underlying dark presence. Everything in this movie is visually perfect. The wardrobe, the color schemes, the lighting, the framing, every single detail is thought of and well loved. Some have criticized Stoker as looking like a student film, but I find it to be wonderfully, perfectly beautiful in every way.
Review by @lcfremont
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