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CALM REVIEW: Stoker

Stoker

Dir. Chan-wook Park | Starring Mia Wasikowska, Matthew Goode, Nicole Kidman | 99min

First of all, let me say that this film is 100% not about Dracula or its author, as the title suggests.  There is not a pale faced blood sucker in sight… Vampires take note, you are SO last year’s news.

So, moving away from the obvious name association, what is Stoker exactly?  On paper at least, Stoker is a strange mix: a Korean Director (famous for the violent crime drama, Old Boy) making his first English language feature, that has been written by an actor, Wentworth Miller best known for his role as a tattooed convict in Prison Break.  Add to that foundation a breathtaking performance from Mia Wasikowska as India Stoker, who seems to be channelling a combination of a young Clare Danes and Nabokov’s Lolita, with wonderful support from both Nicole Kidman and Brit actor Matthew Goode, and the trio provide us with an eerie and sinister family dynamic that cannot end well for anyone.

India’s father, Richard, to whom she is extremely close, has died in a tragic accident.  At his funeral, his distant younger brother, Charles appears and soon ingratiates himself into everyday life at his deceased brother’s family home.  Both mother and daughter seem flattered and intrigued by the arrival of the handsome and charming guest and soon find themselves in competition with each other for his attention.  But why is Uncle Charlie hanging around?  And whose attention does he really want?

From time to time, the plot is as weak as a wet paper bag, ut what this film lacks in substance it certainly makes up for in style and performance.  It’s not a film that’s likely to change your life, or even stay in your mind much longer than it takes to get the bus home from the cinema, but that said it’s not a bad way to spend 99 minutes.

3 out of 5

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