WHEN I emerged from Korean film-maker Chan-Wook Park’s no-holds-barred film about a family dealing with unexpected issues, two women friends asked my opinion about what they were about to watch.
“Stoker” opens with the arrival at a funeral of the dead man’s brother Charlie (Matthew Goodes) of whose existence neither the widow (Nicole Kidman) nor her daughter India (Mia Wasikowska) knew anything.
This sets in motion a melodramatic feast of exploration of relationships, discovery of family secrets, and presentation of clues that, in the best clue tradition, don’t scream out their significance.
Wentworth Miller’s screenplay weaves credible themes and situations into a collection of subtle conflicts generating an accretion of tensions.
A ripe mother and an 18-year-old daughter whose innocence drives her beauty into an emotional minefield made more unbearable because of her beloved father’s sudden accidental death, suddenly find themselves sharing their house with a young man emanating an erotic catalyst awaiting opportunity to strike.
Fresh dead bodies add body to the mix. India resists sexual blandishments from local youths that leave her un-assuaged and driven to self-relief. Mia Wasikowska’s versatility with emotions, conflicts and physical challenges dominates the film. More than simply gluing shots together, the editing plays a significant role in developing the story’s strong dramatic values. Two piano compositions by Phillip Glass integral to the story merit their own CD.
All this betokens a film worth seeing.
At Capitol 6, Palace Electric and Dendy