Stoker was a movie that had been on my radar since I even knew anything about it, because I saw news that Nicole Kidman was making a movie in Nashville. When I originally learned of that I was indifferent because she was at the point in her career where she made movies that I didn’t actively seek out. Learning that it was being directed by Park Chan-wook is definitely the piece of information that full peeked my interest in the movie.
After looking through his filmography this was my first Park Chan-wook movie, which was surprising. I thought that I had seen one of his Korean language movies but turns out I was misremembering. I had no idea that Wentworth Miller had anything to do with the movie. When I saw his name in the producers, I was surprised but I understood it when I saw his credit as the writer. He originally wrote it as Ted Foulke but when I saw it his name was on it rather than his pen name. The story that he wrote is interesting, but the characters were written in such a way that they feel like an alien. It could be that it was partially because of the direction but the director had to rely on a translator to communicate what he wanted.
The performances by the three leads Mia Wasikowska, Matthew Goode, and Nicole Kidman are really good. I think part of Wasikowska’s performance is supposed to feel alien because her character feels uncomfortable in her own skin and like she doesn’t belong in the world around her. That goes in direct contrast to Kidman’s character who just wants to be involved in something with her family. The catalyst of her character feeling like is the death of her husband. This leads to Matthew Goode’s character coming into both of their lives. Goode’s performance is so incredibly off putting that you realize that there’s something about him that puts you at unease immediately. Between this performance and the one he put in for the criminally underseen The Lookout Matthew Goode should be in more horror movies as the villain.
There are subtle effects in this movie. The most evident CG effects had to do with a spider that was crawling on a character. I couldn’t tell if it was supposed to be a specific breed of spider or just one to make the audience uneasy. I felt like it was also supposed to look the way it did to help with the unease for the audience. The music by Clint Mansell is amazing. The score helps the movie along especially when India starts to feel unsure of her uncle. It helps you feel what she is.
Stoker is a weird beautifully shot movie that kind of blend genres. While I’ve not seen any of Park Chan-wook’s other movies I feel like this offers an interesting way of getting into his movies. I finally saw it because it’s leaving HBO Max at the end of May and wasn’t sure if I would get another chance to see it any time soon. I give Stoker 8.5 stuffed bird out of 10.