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Stoker [DVD] [2013]
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on 16 August 2014
Beautiful to look at. Every scene is really well crafted. The three central performances are good in a weird way - particularly Matthew Goode as the unhinged but sexy uncle Charlie. You can see the fixed smile is hiding something really dark inside. The music is stunningly good - I saw this ages ago and the music still goes round in my head. The whole film is strangely haunting. An odd one - but definitely worth watching more than once.
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on 9 January 2018
A good watch, but have forgotten the storyline already.
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on 10 August 2017
Unusual story
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on 17 February 2014
Surprisingly good film, watch Nicole Kidman being desperate and needy in a sad and disturbing way. Great main characters. I enjoyed the sound track a lot.
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on 24 November 2014
Can I just use three words to describe it?

It certainly held my interest. It's one of those films that leave you bereft at the end but you're not quite sure why. Brilliant acting from Mia.
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on 20 August 2017
Orson Welles wrote that when a director gets to Hollywood, he can finally "play with the WHOLE model train set", but I think it somehow backfired for director PArk Chan-Wook, who in Korea has developed a hyper-melodramatic style -- a Korean High Baroque -- that makes him one of the world's most interesting directors to follow (try Oldboy, Lady Vengeance, I'm a Cyborg), yet his one English-language film feels constrained, muted.
Fo r example, the three main characters are each stuck with only one mask to wear: Mia Wasikowska as the teen daughter India is blocked in suspicion, cold hate in her black eyes (usually glaring at you sideways (see DVD box cover)); Nicole Kidman as her mom sustains a smoky scowl through an alcoholic haze (and the occasional phoney smile), and Matthew Goode as Uncle Charley, half smiling and glassy-eyed, forever hides a Big Something... but the whole movie is likewise static, a twisted psychological thriller trembling in aspic, struggling hopelessly to move ahead.
It's typical of the film, I think, that the intrusive character in the family is named Uncle Charley, getting you to say "a-ha: Hitchcock!" but the allusion is an illusion: it doesn't lead anywhere. Likewise, I don't see what story-threads the climax of the film tie up: arbitrary blood-letting because you have to end it some time?
Okay, so why three whole stars? Well, the photography is gorgeous, music is handled beautifully, and above all it's a film by Park Chan-Wook: watching him fall helps you appreciate it when he really flies.
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VINE VOICEon 13 July 2013
Park Chan-wook's first Hollywood film shows that he's not about to join the mainstream. Part gothic family drama, part Hitchcock thriller, the film is a subtle, intimate character study of a peculiar family.

Now first thing's first. If you haven't sen the film, watch it knowing as little as possible.

Still here? Okay. This movie is a feast for the eyes and the ears - the score and final song and elegant, and the use of sound is effective at portraying the world of someone who's senses are suprsensitive. It all adds to the effective double-mystery of both India and the creepy but suave Uncle Charlie. The film hints throughout - eveb the title "Stoker" has many wondering if this is about vampires. It reminds me of a series of stories Ray Bradbury wrote about a strange family where they all had weird powers. The answer when it comes is perfect - a bit gothic melodrama, but then that fits with the mood as a whole.

Not that it's without its flaws. The screenplay is a little clunky. The story itself is cracking but occasionally the dialogue is a bit wooden (though the actors mainly overcome this). Worst is the unnecessary exchange between Kidman and the aunt about Richard ("your husband, my nephew"). Some characters (all the teenage boys) suffer as a result of being sketchily written. And there are occasions (I'm thinking especially "letters") when an intriguing revelation is almost immediately followed by another that twists things around. These twists are good, but it's a shame the movie doesn't let these little timebombs sit for longer before revealing themselves as they could turn everything on their heads.

But these are minor quibbles. The direction, look and excellent performances bring a depth to the story that elevates this into a striking film. Kidman's brittleness works well here, but this is Goode and Wasikowska's movie. Goode gives Uncle Charlie a spooky charm and an unwavering hunter's stare. And Wasikowska portrays so much of India's confused journey of self-discovery by revealing so little. We really can't be sure of her final trajectory because she plays it close to her chest and she's excellent.

This film is not a case of style over substance: as I said earlier, the central story is already a strong one. One of my favourite films is "Don't Look Now" and it was only recently I realised that the dialogue is occasionally clichéd and wooden - but the story, direction and performances elevate above that and make it a clasic. "Stoker" isn't quite that good but it's still an amazing film to experience, and an intimate and self-contained chamber-piece, most effective when it's at its most claustrophobic.
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on 22 July 2013
This is one of the few and most representative examples left of Hollywood managing not to spoil a foregin director but to even force him to be more controlled and balanced without losing his style.
Some said that this film is a false step in his career, but I prefer not to rely on the clichè according to which, anytime a foreigner works in an american production, he automatically loses his style. As a matter of fact, I remember how Hollywood help great european directors (Fritz Lang, Wilder, Hitchcock, etc...) to even improve their style in the glorious 30s to 50s.
So, in my opinion, this is his best movie (yes, better than Lady Vengeance and Old Boy).
He tried himself with the need for storytelling and the long tradition of Hollywood noir (starting with Hitchcock, all the way to Polansky, Lynch, etc...)and succeeded.
Stoker is a work of art, where every shot and moment is perfect and makes this dark story even darker.
Great to see it doesn't need to be long (less than 1 and 1/2 hour long) yet it seems so dense and full of significance and cinema and atmosphere, that you really don't care when some piece don't exactly explain itself. You just let yourself go with this irresistible and unique touch, that Hollywood, still and once again, managed to add value to instead of diminishing. A must-watch and watch again
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 29 September 2015
2013's elegant 'Stoker' is a beautiful and twisted British-American psychological thriller. With it's highly lush visuals, setting and camera work, it dramatizes the infatuation recently made fatherless India Stoker (Mia Wasikowska), a young woman has with killing, and the sudden appearance of a seemingly charming estranged uncle Charlie (Matthew Goode), who apparently shares the same interest with her.

Like a gothic fairy-tale, I found the Hitchcock-isque 'Stoker' to be very easy to follow and understand. The story unfolds slowly, but it didn't take me very long to find myself intrigued by the dark and mysterious goings on. If you enjoy wonderfully dark, and thought provoking movies, designed to make you think rather than shoving fast action sequences in your face, then you may find this one as enjoyable as I did. With excellent performances from the actors portraying the unusual Stoker family, Nicole Kidman as the seemingly emotionless mother also makes up the cast.

On the DVD, there is a wealth of bonus features, including deleted scenes, featurettes, the trailer, and the option of subtitles for the hard-of-hearing.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 24 January 2015
This is an intriguing stylised thriller which demonstrates admirable Hitchcockian qualities. This may be a homage to the great director but Park Chan-Wook’s film is a superbly enjoyable drama as camera angles and film score create a haunting and menacing tone to the narrative. Mia Wasikowska is excellent as India Stoker, an intelligent troubled young woman who is grieving for her recently deceased father. When her handsome and charming uncle moves into the house with her mother and herself after years of travelling around Europe she gradually discovers some dark family secrets. This is a coming of age movie with a vengeance, as India finally acknowledges her true nature, with the help of her ‘uncle Charlie’.
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