There there are many things I admire about certain actors. The main thing I admire you may ask? Is the willingness to take risks. One such actor is Ms. Nicole Kidman. Say what you want about her choices, generally speaking they are always unique in some way, whether it’s in the set devoid Dogville, playing a woman in love with a convict in The Paperboy, or as the unstable Evelyn in Stoker, out now on DVD and blu-ray, they are always unique.
India Stoker (Mia Wasikowska) is eighteen and on her birthday her father is in a fatal car accident. At the funeral, India meets her Uncle Charlie (Matthew Goode) who is going to move in with her and her mother Evelyn (Nicole Kidman) at their expansive home which is quite off the beaten path.
Clearly, Charlie has ulterior motives but quite honestly every character in the film is slightly off kilter in some way. Evelyn is fragile and unstable which is why she is drawn to Charlie’s clam demeanor. His true intentions are revealed piece by piece throughout the film and as each layer is peeled away I got sucked into this quirky story.
Korean director Chan-wook Park makes his English language debut with Stoker and it’s very impressive. What’s more impressive however, is that Wentworth Miller (Yep, from Prison Break and Buffy The Vampire Slayer) penned the screenplay. Wentworth created an interesting thriller, that blends a coming of age story, mixed with a terse thriller with a dash of horror. Not an easy task. Chan-wook Park brings an amazing stylish edge to the proceedings, including some amazing imagery early on in the film.
The actors are all on their A-games here. Matthew Goode, impressive as he was in Watchmen, here brings a creepy sinister edge but elevates the character above that. He tilts his hand without ever revealing it. Once the layers are peeled away, we get a glimpse into the core of his character. His every nuance is spot on and I would say it’s his best performance to date.
As Evelyn, Nicole Kidman is in her zone. Evelyn is an alcoholic who needs constant validation from everyone around her and Kidman nails it. She has played similar characters in the past but here she uses everything that makes Evelyn who she is and owns it, playing nicely off of Matthew Goode.
However, the film really rests on Mia Wasikowksa’s shoulders. It’s through her character that the audience gets to see the story unfold and she is excellent. I’ve thought Mia Wasikowksa was good in The Kids Are Alright and Lawless but here she plays a full, rich textured character.
There are some plot contrivances that anyone who’s seen an episode of Dexter will see coming but overall this small film is one you shouldn’t miss. I know that it was overlooked upon it’s theatrical release but quite honestly, I thought it was very well done and enjoyed it immensely.
The blu-ray features deleted scenes, a nice filmmaker’s journey featurette, a small puff piece from the movie premiere, and the theatrical trailer.
Stoker is out now on DVD and blu-ray!
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