“Stoker” is a bit of an odd film. It is almost an orgy of beautiful shots, of stylistic adventures, of people being draped in colours, close-ups of innocent faces… a visual feast! As the main character India is not one of too many words, this describes her world quite accurately. She is caught in a family she does not like, her one point of affection, her father, was killed, and now she is trapped with her extremely annoying mother and her uncle who suddenly turned up out of nowhere. I am not sure whether the mother is intended to be as annoying as she is, it somehow appeared to me that the script writers had a lot of trouble writing the right lines for Nicole Kidman, or did they make her intentionally obnoxious? There was some talk in the reviews about the first English-language film of a non-native speaker always struggling with the language. I am not so sure about that, I would rather think that there is an intentional discrepancy between the emotionality of the girl and the artificiality of the mother, explaining why these two just cannot get along.
As this is a Korean director with a certain history in unpleasant occurrences (such as this one or this one or … ah, just about every film he made), it is not surprising that the family drama takes a turn towards violence and ill-conceived family relations. Something wicked this way comes… and as usual the wolf comes disguised in sheep’s clothes …The wolf is the uncle, a mix of physical and intellectual attractiveness and an aura of unclear intentions and vaguely hidden peril.
In total, the film reminded me of Peter Jackson’s “Heavenly Creatures” in ts partial attempt to break out of the director’s biography, while actually sticking to it, putting the characters’ developments and motivations under scrutiny and leading them towards a rather unpleasant fate. Like the Jackson film, I could very much appreciate the effort, even though I could not get myself fully immersed in the film.