Directed by Park Chan-wook
Written by Wentworth Miller
Music by Clint Mansell
Running time: 99 minutes
India Stoker’s beloved father dies in a car accident on her 18th birthday. Soon after, the mysterious Uncle Charlie comes to stay with India and her cold & distant mother. India never even knew her father had a brother and she starts to suspect that Uncle Charlie may not be all he seems.
First of all, thanks to everyone for voting when I asked which film I should review next. Stoker was the winner.
I think it’s pretty well known that the inspiration for Stoker was Alfred Hitchcock’s Shadow Of A Doubt. Being a pretty big Hitchcock fan and having just watched that one this year (review HERE), I can certainly see how similar the films are and how much Wentworth Miller clearly must love Shadow Of A Doubt. As to be expected, though, it’s not as good as Hitchcock’s film.
I missed Stoker when it was in cinemas and I was so mad because it looked interesting & I really wanted to see it. But as it wasn’t Fast & Furious 23 or some shit like that, it was only on for one week at my local cinema. So, anyway, after fellow movie geeks seemed to love it despite some not so great reviews I think I had probably hyped it up too much in my mind & that may be why I was a little disappointed with the film.
I’ve never seen Park Chan-wook’s Oldboy and had wanted to do this review along with that one but just haven’t had time to watch it. I’m assuming it’s a better film with all the best bits of Stoker, like some great visuals and all that director-y stuff that I know nothing about, but with a better story. Stoker looked great & it had this wonderful creepy atmosphere that I really liked. But the overall story wasn’t all that shocking or original and, with a different director, I think it would be a very forgettable film.
I also think everyone did fine in their roles but no one really blew me away.
Mia Wasikowska was fine but I think plenty of other actresses could have played the role too. Matthew Goode has this insane look going on in his eyes so I think he was right for the role but, again, I think there are others who could have played Uncle Charlie and I can’t help but say that Joseph Cotten was a creepier Uncle Charlie in Shadow Of A Doubt. At least the character of India in Stoker has much more depth than Hitchcock’s Charlie, niece of the uncle with the same name. Nicole Kidman is also fine but she always is – I didn’t really feel like we were seeing anything new from her here.
Overall I just found the story too predictable. It was too much “style over substance” for me. I don’t think it was bad but, if you’re going to make a film so clearly inspired by Hitchcock, I think you need to do a better job on the suspense in the film. You’re not going to top the Master in that regard but there are other films that have achieved a growing sense of anxiousness more than Stoker does, which never exactly had me on the edge of my seat.
Stoker is a very atmospheric film that is lovely to look at and one I’m sure that people who know anything about filmmaking would probably appreciate. In the hands of a less talented director (and without a certain shower scene), I think it would be a very forgettable film. It’s a good Hitchcock-inspired mystery but just can’t match his brilliantly suspenseful storytelling. But who can? Although it sounds like I almost hated Stoker, I did actually enjoy it. It’s a solid effort & I appreciate the attempt to make something other than the same old tired mainstream movie in this world full of horrible sequels, remakes, and “Ow, my balls!” comedies. Stoker is worth a watch for film fans but I would hope that everyone will have already seen Hitchcock’s biggest classics first to see the true master of suspense at work.
My Rating: 6.5/10
And I’m on a Movie Haiku kick again so here’s one for Stoker. Warning if you’ve not seen it – SLIGHT SPOILER:
Strange Uncle Charlie
Masturbating in shower
Hitchcock this is not
Which leads me to two of my lists on which Stoker probably now at least deserves an honorable mention. 😉
My Top Ten Shower & Bath Scenes In Movies
I loved Stoker… But then I have quite limited exposure to Hitchcock and I am very guilty of getting caught up in style over substance. If something looks cool enough I’ll forget most of the flaws.
Hehe – Kind of like with The Crow? I have to admit that I enjoyed that one much more than Stoker. I know you like things like Moulin Rouge too. Not saying I don’t like a bit of style, though. 🙂 I did all appreciate that about Stoker. Just wanted a bit more…
Totally like The Crow… And several dance movies… And lots of Asian movies. Lol!
As you know table9, Stoker is my prime candidate for worst film of the year. It has a strong beginning – but falls apart half way through – becoming patently ridiculous by the end. And the shower scene has nothing on Psycho! 😉 Nice write-up though. 🙂
Thanks. 🙂 Yes – it was promising at first. I didn’t hate it like you but what a disappointment! I thought it looked like it could be great from the trailer…
Your review has me interested in checking this film out.
Thanks! 🙂 I think there are definitely some good things about it. It LOOKS great. But, unfortunately, it just doesn’t quite work overall. But I’d recommend it to film lovers.
I agree with you 100 per cent on this one. I also kept thinking pretty long time what in particular displeased about this film, and could not find a definite answer. I was forced to admit that I would probably put someone else in the role of Uncle Charley. Matthew Goode looks psychotic enough, but I think Uncle Charley must also possess much more charisma, personality and good looks.
Thanks. 🙂 I agree with that – I don’t think he was BAD but I don’t think he was quite right for the role. I’m not sure anyone in it was quite right. I really wanted to like it much more than I did…
That’s EXACTLY how I felt – underdone and if not for the director, it would have probably gone straight to DVD. That’s why I voted for it – to see if you felt the same way I did – cuz we’re tight like that : )
I know. We have awesome taste in movies. Our opinion is always the right opinion! 😉
Nice write up, I have been meaning to give this one a watch for a long time. I know it is not a great film but still sounds like a decent watch.
Thanks. 🙂 I do recommend it to film lovers but think it’s kind of a love it or hate it. Although I didn’t hate it, I was hoping to really like it…
Wonderful review. I was lucky enough to see it in theaters. I enjoyed it very much.
Thanks! 🙂 Glad you enjoyed it. Even though I didn’t love it, I’m still mad I missed it in theaters. I don’t get why they show films like this for only one week, if at all….
Thanks for inspiring me to watch this, but I didn’t care for it. Most of the movie just moved way too slow for me and I expected the ending to at least make it worthwhile, but unfortunately it didn’t 😦
Sorry to hear you didn’t like this one. 😦 Glad I inspired you, though! Lol! I suppose I gave it a pretty lukewarm review… But I know a lot of people seemed to love it.
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I loved this. Big Park-Chan Wook fan and watched several of his movies (have you seen Thirst?) so noticed many of his visual tricks here. Good oddball performance by Mia Wasikowska too who I am becoming a fan after this and Alice In Wonderland (don’t shoot me!!!).
No – this is the only one of his movies I’ve seen. Hehe – that’s okay – she WAS good in this. Better than Alice In Wonderland. Just need to see her in more stuff, I think. : )
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