The new thriller “Stoker” has nothing to do with Bram Stoker or his most famous creation, Dracula, but something tells me Stoker himself might have enjoyed the strange sense of dread incubating deep within the story.
The first English language film from Korean master Chan-Wook Park, “Stoker” revolves around the Stoker family, or, more correctly, the remaining members of the clan. Father Richard (Dermot Mulroney) was tragically killed in a car accident on his daughter India’s (Mia Wasikowska) eighteenth birthday. Mom Evie (Nicole Kidman) is upset, but eager to move on once handsome Uncle Charlie (Matthew Goode) shows up after a long absence.
In fact, creepy Charlie is just a little too mysterious—he’s been away for too long—to be a benign figure in India or Evie’s life.
“Stoker” is a sexual-psychological drama with overtones of incest, mental illness and infidelity. In other words it’s the kind of film that could keep psychoanalysts busy for years. Question is, will it keep audiences entertained for two hours?
It’ll be up to each and every viewer to decide whether the film’s unusual feel will be for them. Here’s what you need to know: India is an artistic girl who passes the time reading science books and staring off into space. She doesn’t like to be touched and, since the death of her father, seems to have disconnected from everyone around her. She’s so sullen she makes Bella Swan seem lighthearted by comparison.
The movie strives to emulate India’s sense of withdrawal by creating a sense of disquiet in the viewer, akin to India’s unease. Long silences punctuate sentences, as the ethereally pale protagonist slowly seems to be losing her mind. Or is she? The line between reality and fantasy is deliberately blurred as India is forced to grow up rather quickly.
The stuff of mystery is very much in evidence. Charlie’s past is shrouded in secret, there’s odd letters found in an old desk, skeletons in the cupboard and mysterious glances galore, but this isn’t Agatha Christie. It’s a slow burn leading up to an unconventional climax.
It’s beautiful to look at—one transition from scene to scene sees Kidman’s flame hair turn into swamp reeds—but the deliberate aloofness of the characters and the story may be off putting for many.
The classic “Jack and the Beanstock” is given an epic twist by director Bryan “X-Men” Singer. Synopsis: The action in this epic retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk begins when the king’s advisor Roderick (Stanley Tucci) hatches a plot to steal an enchanted crown and the six magic beans that hold to key to opening a gateway between earth and Gantua, the land of the giants. Enter poor farmer Jack (Nicholas Hoult) who becomes involved when he unwittingly sows a seed that sprouts a giant beanstalk, literally shooting the princess Isabelle (Eleanor Tomlinson) skyward into the humungous hands of the giants. Determined to rescue her Jack battles the goliaths, wins the respect of the king and the love of a princess.