'Stoker' Review: 'Oldboy' Director Makes Visually Stunning, Dramatically Drab U.S. Debut

'Stoker' Review: 'Oldboy' Director Makes Visually Stunning, Dramatically Drab U.S. Debut

In a big old house deep in the country, the Stoker family is weathering a storm of portents.

Dad just died in a puzzling automotive mishap, and now, with mom wandering around with a never-empty glass of wine spot-welded to her hand, daughter India, who just turned 18, is wondering about a mysterious “Uncle Charlie” who has suddenly appeared on the scene and announced he’ll be staying for a while. She’s never heard of this weird relative before — what does he want? When we see a large spider creeping up India’s bare leg and proceeding up under her skirt, the question evaporates.

For his first venture into English-language filmmaking, South Korean writer-director Park Chan-wook deploys his gift for flamboyant imagery and eccentric audio effects in the service of a chilly Southern Gothic creepfest. Stoker is a great-looking movie (shot by Park’s ace cinematographer, Chung Chung-hoon) with an appropriately dark-and-stormy score (by Clint Mansell, Darren Aronofsky’s go-to composer). Its twisty plot might be said to be an homage to Alfred Hitchcock — whose 1943 Shadow of a Doubt also featured a sinister Uncle Charlie — but mainly the picture is a showcase for Park’s own distinctive talent, and, presumably, a token of his determination to crack the American market.

But the movie has some unfortunate problems. Park didn’t write the script this time out; the screenplay is by first-timer Wentworth Miller, and while it’s skillful in stacking up the story’s often-bloody surprises, it provides very little in the way of character development. Or, for that matter, characters.

Read the Full Review at Reason.com

Comment count on this article reflects comments made on Breitbart.com and Facebook. Visit Breitbart's Facebook Page.