Parole officer Jack Mabry (Robert De Niro) has only a few weeks left before retirement and wishes to finish out the cases he's been assigned. One such case is that of Gerald "Stone" Creeson (Edward Norton), a convicted arsonist who is up for parole. Jack is initially reluctant to indulge Stone in the coarse banter he wishes to pursue and feels little sympathy for the prisoner's pleas for an early release. Seeing little hope in convincing Jack by himself, Stone arranges for his wife, Lucetta (Milla Jovovich), to seduce the officer, but motives and intentions steadily blur amidst the passions and buried secrets of the corrupted players in this deadly game of deception.Written by
The Massie Twins
Edward Norton spent time with real prisoners in the Southern Michigan Correctional Facility. He adopted his character's accent and cornrow hairstyle from the prisoners. Norton inserted phrases he heard from the prisoners into the dialogue. See more »
I wish I got a story rather than messed up characters and a meaningless climax
"Stone" is a messed up film. I would like to say that I don't know what the story was about, but that's not really true as it was a very simplistic plot. Edward Norton is a convicted criminal up for parole, overseen by parole officer Robert De Niro. It's not so much that the story is hard to understand, more so that nothing actually happens.
It's dialogue-heavy as Norton philosophizes his way to freedom, and it's supposed to be character-rich as we watch De Niro try to remain sane as both Norton and his wife Milla Jovovich work their angles on him. But these are just messed up characters that I knew less about at the end than I did at the beginning. The film has clear problems when the only somewhat likable character is the guiltless criminal Norton. But I would say it's bigger problems are with the fact that it's supposed to be a thriller, but all you have is De Niro and Norton jabbering back and forth until nothing is clear and very little of consequence or action occurs. There is even a religious undertone to the whole film, but I have no idea what they were trying to say with that.
I'm sure De Niro and Norton deliver great performances as they always do, but when their characters are poorly written and make no sense, you can't watch a film for the acting. The director was overly concerned with detail, framing every scene and adding nuance to each shot, which is great in some films, but in "Stone", it would have served him better to just try and tell a story from beginning to end.
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