Malaysian release date: 7 March 2013
Genre: Thriller, psychological, drama
Running Time: 98 mins
Director: Park Chan-Wook
Writer: Wentworth Miller
Cast: Mia Wasikowska, Nicole Kidman and Matthew Goode
Synopsis: “After India’s (Wasikowska’s) father dies in an auto accident, her Uncle Charlie (Goode), who she never knew existed, comes to live with her and her emotionally unstable mother Evelyn (Kidman). Soon after his arrival, she comes to suspect this mysterious, charming man has ulterior motives, but instead of feeling outrage or horror, this friendless girl becomes increasingly infatuated with him” (20th Century Fox Malaysia).
Verdict: There were two things that surprised me about this movie: one, this twisted gothic tale was written by the lead actor of Prison Break; and two, the director of my all-time favourite Korean film (Oldboy) did not impress much with his distinctive style. Stoker has a simple and yet compelling story but spends too much time on the build-up, which would definitely bore many viewers out of their asses. Although the film is visually tasteful, relatively creepy, thought-provoking and has its moments, it does not provide much of a shock value at the end and more disappointingly, it lacks of the disturbing sick psychopathic fun which its trailer led me to expect. Acting performance wise, nobody really stands out either.
Second opinion: “I liked it; it’s very engaging, emotionally” (Iris Loong).
A moment of silence for Tony Scott, who died during the production of this film. He will be remembered for the awesome films he directed (Beverly Hills Cop II, Enemy of the State, True Romance, and many more).
Malaysian censorship: The original length of the film is 100 minutes and the Malaysian cut is 2 minutes lesser. Not sure if any violent scene was removed but the shower scene is chopped up a bit. But it shouldn’t matter ’cause it’s still understandable what’s happening in that scene.
Rating: 3 / 5
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Favourite scene: The part where India (Mia Wasikowska) plays piano and is joined by her Uncle Charlie (Matthew Goode), who’s supposedly a total beginner. Much to nobody’s surprise (’cause it’s predictable), Charlie sits and starts playing a fast-tempo piece which succeeds in intriguing India to sit and play along. India crosses her legs and closes her eyes with her mouth slightly opened when Charlie goes around her to reach the higher keys with his right hand. The scene ends with both the beautiful piece of music and India reaching climax. It’s so sexually convincing that even I, a dude, got turned on by it.
Possible plot holes: How does Charlie manage to find his victims and India so quickly? It’s like as though he has tracking device installed on them. And how is possible for a wealthy family to not own a single computer in the year 2012?
Clarification on the ending: Despite the mutual obsession and interests, India chooses to shoot and kill Charlie instead of her mother (Nicole Kidman) whom she seemingly hates the entire film. Why? Simply because Charlie has murdered two of her favourite people in life, her father and Mrs. McGarrick; and probably also because she finally understands her mother’s pain and loneliness through Charlie’s similar experience in the past. In the end, she packs up and leaves the town all by herself in Charlie’s car, but not without killing the sheriff who suspects that she’s involved with all the missing people.
What’s the meaning behind the bugs? No fucking idea. Some artsy fartsy metaphor, I believe.
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Special thanks to 20th Century Fox Malaysia for the invitation to the screening.