Stoker (2012) – review
About two thirds into the movie, 18 year old India stabs a boy through his hand. The boy routinely picked up on her and was being particularly rude about her mom and uncle that day. Another boy from the school stands up for her. Later that night she goes to the bar where the nice one hung out, flirts with him, eggs him on, but instead of romance the night turns out quite horribly wrong. Instead of finding the episode disturbing she finds herself deeply aroused.
Stoker is that kind of movie, India is that kind of girl.
However, nothing happens out of the blue, you can’t complain that you could not see anything coming, but when it does arrive it jolts you all the same.
Stoker starts at the funeral of India’s dad, to whom she was very close, and we catch the first glimpse of the charming uncle, Charlie, who no one seems to have heard of or seen before. In the same way that we, the audience, know that there is something evil about the ancient book in the cellar, we immediately see that there is something unhinged about Charlie. He smiles a lot, the smile not spreading beyond the lips. Both the mother, Evelyn (played with ‘The Others’ like instability and deliriousness by Nicole Kidman) and daughter are drawn towards him, the mother quite willingly and the daughter helplessly.
The word ‘atmospheric’ has been used rather generously in the past but if there was any movie that justifies the use of that word, this is it. It brooding, full of clever cinematography, unhurried yet gripping. There are images and scenes that stay beyond the movie, the crimson tinted white flowers, Charlie and India playing the piano in tandem, the locks of hair turn into blades of grass.
It is a delicious movie, unencumbered by any convention and directed by Park Chan-wook, the Korean directed of the revenge trilogy, the most famous of which was ‘OldBoy’
The movie is also about the nature of evil, and that age old cinematic question of whether it is ingrained and hence inexplicable or whether circumstances play a part.