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Stoker ★★★

India just received a terrible birthday gift

Chan-wook Park the genius mind who brought us the delightful, creepy and groundbreaking Oldboy, is back  to what he does best: a sick, elegant, must see thriller.

Stoker opens with an introduction of the lead character India played by the amazing Mia Wasikowska. It is her 18th birthday, a terrible one because she just received the news her Dad died in a car-crash. As time pass by, we learn several things about her. She has a unique ability to hear people’s thoughts, she was very close to her Dad and now she is left on a big house with her distant Mother played by a cold Nicole Kidman. In a middle of the funeral, a strange visitor appears: Charles Stoker (majestically played by Matthew Goode). What is riveting, India did knew he existed. Why…

The strange visitor

Stoker works so well in many levels. Like Russians dolls, the viewer is treated to one surprise after another. Who is Charles? What’s behind those glass killer eyes? Why Nicole Kidman has a resurrected sexual appetite? Is there a dysfunctional sexual attraction between India and her uncle? And why does India’s aunt (Jacki Weaver) comes to visit with such fear? I do not want to ruin anything. Go and see it.

The sound design plays a key factor in this movie, like a musical instrument that is played by a maestro. Speaking of maestro, I do not recall watching a movie in the past months that has a narrative like Stoker’s. It is groundbreaking and stunning.

What is he thinking behind the glassy eyes?

On a final note, Chan-wook Park made a elegant touch to the Victorian reference “Stoker”’ (as in Bram Stoker’s Dracula). The whole movie, although set in present day, I had the feeling the characters lived in a Victorian mansion. And their dark secret & pathos isolate them from the real world.

FYI – Wasikowska played Victorian characters in Alice in Wonderland, Jane Eyre and coming soon Madame Bovary.

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