Stoker

From South Korean director Park Chan-wook in his English-language debut comes British-American psychological thriller film Stoker written by Wentworth Miller. It stars Mia Wasikowska, Matthew Goode, and Nicole Kidman, and was released on March 1, 2013. The movie was co-produced by Tony & Ridley Scott along with Michael Costigan. It was the last film that Tony Scott worked on before he died.

This is an odd film that does very little to excite you or draw you in. India Stoker is a high school student who’s life is turned upside down when her loving father Richard (Dermott Mulrooney) is killed in a car accident on her 18th birthday. At the funeral India and her unstable mother Evelyn are introduced to a charming man Charlie who is Richard’s younger brother, who has been traveling the world for work and has never met either of them before. He then announces that he will be staying on for a while to support his sister-in-law and niece, which pleases Evelyn but annoys India. Things soon change as the housekeeper, Mrs. McGarrick, disappears soon after an argument with Charlie. India rebuffs Charlie’s attempts at friendliness but her mother seems to be getting close to him.  Later, India’s great aunt Gwendolyn arrives to visit the family, much to Evelyn and Charlie’s dismay. At dinner, Gwendolyn shows surprise at Charlie’s claims of traveling the world and tells Evelyn that she needs to talk to her about Charlie. She then changes hotels for the night, seemingly scared of Charlie but is tracked by him and killed by Charlie using a belt.

Indian meanwhile discovers Mrs. McGarrick’s dead body in the basement freezer when she goes to get some icecream, realizing that Charlie is a murderer and that he also wanted her to find the body as he had insisted that she be the one to place the ice cream there in the first place. Later at school she unleashes her inner aggression at school and stabs a bully, Chris, on his hand with a pencil. Another boy Whip sees this and lends support to her. At night she sees Evelyn & Charlie becoming intimate and leaves the house and walks to a diner here she runs into Whip. She and Whip go into the woods where they proceed to make out until India aggressively bites Whip. Whip then attempts to rape India until Charlie intervenes, and breaks Whip’s neck with his belt. India then aids Charlie in burying the body in her garden. When she is back home, she tries to call aunt Gwen but does not get an answer and believes that Charlie killed her too.  India takes a shower and experiences a sexual awakening, masturbating to the memory of the murder, climaxing as she remembers Charlie breaking Whip’s neck. A day later she discovers Charlie’s secret; while going her father’s things in his office, she finds a stack of letters from Charlie in which he details his travels all around the world but she then sees that the sending address on the back of the envelopes is from a mental institution. When Charlie walks in she confronts him and he tells her the truth.

As a boy Charlie killed younger brother Jonathan because he was jealous that Richard paid more attention to him. As a result Charlie was sent away to a mental institution for the majority of his life and was released on the same day that India turned 18. Richard came to collect Charlie and gave him a car and some money and an apartment in New York on the condition that he stay away from Richard’s family. Feeling hurt and betrayed, Charlie beat Richard to death with a rock and staged the car accident. Hearing this India is angry but seems to become close to Charlie when he vouches for her & provides an alibi for her when Sheriff Howard questions her about Whip’s disappearance. Watching uncle & niece growing almost intimate is too much for Evelyn who tells India that she wants her to suffer. Charlie seduces Evelyn and then attempts to strangle her before India appears and fatally shoots Charlie in the neck with a rifle. She then buries Charlie’s body in the backyard and proceeds to leave for New York in his car. She is pulled over by the Sheriff for speeding who then asks her why she’s in a hurry. India replies that she wanted to catch his attention, then plunges a pair of pruning shears into his neck. India pursues the wounded sheriff into a field to dispatch him with her rifle.

That’s the whole movie and try as I might to get into it, I was soon bored. I can’t speak much for the acting and the interspersing scenes in between that just doesn’t do much to the story’s benefit. All in all I’d call this, one to avoid. It just about made it’s budget of $12 million back at the box office. 5 outta 10!

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