After India's father dies, her Uncle Charlie, whom she never knew existed, comes to live with her and her unstable mother. She comes to suspect this mysterious, charming man has ulterior motives and becomes increasingly infatuated with him.
India Stoker (Mia Wasikowska) was not prepared to lose her father and best friend Richard (Dermot Mulroney) in a tragic auto accident. The solitude of her woodsy family estate, the peace of her tranquil town, and the unspoken somberness of her home life are suddenly upended by not only this mysterious accident, but by the sudden arrival of her Uncle Charlie (Matthew Goode), who she never knew existed. When Charlie moves in with her and her emotionally unstable mother Evie (Nicole Kidman), India thinks the void left by her father's death is finally being filled by his closest bloodline. Soon after his arrival, India comes to suspect that this mysterious, charming man has ulterior motives. Yet instead of feeling outrage or horror, this friendless young woman becomes increasingly infatuated with him. Written by
Fox Searchlight Pictures
(at around 1 hour 20 mins) When the sheriff is leaving the house, India and Charles say, "Goodbye Sheriff," and India's hair changes from neat to disheveled between shots. See more »
My ears hear what others cannot hear; small faraway things people cannot normally see are visible to me. These senses are the fruits of a lifetime of longing, longing to be rescued, to be completed. Just as the skirt needs the wind to billow, I'm not formed by things that are of myself alone. I wear my father's belt tied around my mother's blouse, and shoes which are from my uncle. This is me. Just as a flower does not choose its color, we are not responsible for what we have come ...
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The credits scroll from top to bottom of the screen, rather than bottom to top, like in most scrolling end credits. See more »
This is the first English language film from South Korean director Chan-Wook Park. He is probably most famous for the intense psychological thriller Oldboy. With his American debut he reigns in the extremity somewhat but does retain the visual inventiveness that is also one of his trademarks. In many ways Stoker is a modern update of Alfred Hitchcock's Shadow of a Doubt (1943). Like that one, this film has a mysterious uncle re-emerge into the life of a family after many years of absence. Before long it becomes pretty clear that all is not as it seems with this man and he is in fact extremely dangerous. The main character is an 18 year old girl called India Stoker played by Mia Wasikowska who was recently in the not very good but very popular Alice in Wonderland. She leads the film very well and carries off the bookish character effectively. There is also able support from Nicole Kidman as her mother.
The look and feel of Stoker is impressive. The atmosphere is well sustained throughout. If I had a criticism it would simply be that the story ultimately isn't all that original and there aren't really a lot of surprises. What it does do though is to take a fairly standard psychological thriller story and make it interesting by way of cinematic techniques. It isn't a movie that is exactly going to break the mould but it is pretty accomplished nevertheless and is a pretty good first English language feature from its director.
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