I really can’t stop thinking about “Stoker,” the recent release by director Park Chan-wook, known for films like “Oldboy” and “Lady Vengeance.”
Fans of those films will love his first American language piece, and it’s certainly a good place to start for newcomers. (Then see the “Oldboy” series, please).
The visual story of “Stoker” is just as telling as the script and leaves viewers equally thinking about the meaning of the imagery and the dialogue.
The main character of the film is India (Mia Wasikowska), whose father dies in a car accident on her 18th birthday. India is left living in an isolated mansion with her mother Evelyn (Nicole Kidman) and her Uncle Charlie (Matthew Goode), who comes into the picture the day of the funeral.
India’s father is clearly the person she was closest to and who understood her the most and his death causes her to unravel. Uncle Charlie’s presence doesn’t help. Overall it seems India is infatuated with Charlie and resentful and jealous toward her mother.
But she also has a side I couldn’t really pinpoint. Was India’s obsession with Charlie all a ploy to get revenge toward her mother, who seems equally infatuated with him, or just a side effect from her father’s death?
I took away that India is the one in control, no matter the cause of her attitude toward her mother and Charlie, and she begins to put together the pieces of why he mysteriously shows up at the funeral and slowly moves into their lives.
As for the cinematography, Park Chan-wook uses each and every set piece, angle and shadow to visualize the strife between his characters as well as their internal battles for the viewer to take away as representation of the purpose of his film.
Kidman, Goode and Wasikowska play well together as three people “stuck” in the mansion to represent the after effects of a horrible tragedy and the depth of their own issues.
Here Park Chan-wook describes his film as a twisted fairy tale and translation of a day’s events into a dream – or nightmare.
“Stoker” is a dark, but beautiful, film and I recommend you give it a chance. Park Chan-wook delivers a film that comes full circle by way of India’s character and most certainly leaves the viewer wanting more of his stylistic storytelling.