Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Sundance Review: Stoker

As a photographer--this film was visually one of the most stunning sequence of composed shots I've ever seen compiled into a single movie. As a human being with a mother and many uncles, this film made me utterly creeped out. So, it was a win-win.

Stoker stars Academy Award winner Nicole Kidman, Mia Wasikowska (I finally know how to spell her name!), and the utterly delightful Matthew Goode. Perhaps the biggest reveleation, however, came in the form of director Park Chan-wook. Many will know him from Oldboy, but will have never even heard of him before. He makes his English directorial debut here at Park City this year. Armed with a translator, he was delightfully charismatic, charming, humorous, and low-key. I loved him.

Maybe it is because I like to explore the complexity of human emotion in my photography work, maybe it is because I like to push boundaries with what people feel comfortable with in their communication, maybe it is because--as a writer and creator--I spend much of my alone time thinking about why humans do what they do and how they do it. Maybe it is all of these things, that made this film so intensely interesting.

Or, maybe it was all the blood. It was shocking, but also not so shocking since I just saw Django Unchained last week. There was a lot of lovely blood spraying all over very pure flowers in this film, and I guess I'm ok with that. I never thought I'd be ok with blood in a movie, but when it's just so lovely and artistic, it sorta gets to me. In a good way. 

At the opening of the film, India (Wasikowska) has just lost her father (Dermot Mulroney) on the day she turned 18. Her mother, Evie (Kidman) is distant, and often cruel, to her daughter. On the day of the funeral, Evie introduces India to an uncle she didn't know she had, Charlie (Matthew Goode). Then everything just gets bizarre. Evie and Charlie have feelings for each other. Charlie and India have feelings for each other. There is a lot of staring. There is a lot of emotion. There is a lot of anger and violence, especially on the part of India. And there is a lot of dysfunction. If you want to feel better about your own dysfunctional family, come and spend time with this one.

Oh, also, this was written by the ever intense Wentworth Miller who starred in Prison Break. I've always liked him.

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