Stoker Is Stock Full Of Surprises

By Shannon Dwyer 3-3-13  

Matthew Goode plays the mysterious Uncle Charlie. Nicogenin/Creative Commons
Matthew Goode plays the mysterious Uncle Charlie. Nicogenin/Creative Commons

“Stoker” is not for the squeamish.

While visually appealing, this dark film will make you question humanity. Korean director Chan-wook Park’s first English-language film is arguably one of the most visually appealing and strikingly stylish films. Just be sure you know what you signed up for, it’s a wild ride.

The film opens with the death of India Stoker’s (Mia Wasikowska) father. Before she and her Stepford-esque mother (Nicole Kidman) can even begin to grieve, mysterious Uncle Charlie (Matthew Goode) arrives on their doorstep. His brother’s sudden death, which coincidentally coincides with India’s 18th birthday, brings him to meet his family.

India immediately senses there is something wrong with Charlie. Mourning, confused and suffering teenage angst, India is both attracted to and frightened by her newly discovered uncle. Charlie has an immediate, eerie interest in uptight, mentally unstable India. He stays at the house, and a disturbing triangle forms between Charlie, India and her mother, Evelyn. Evelyn throws herself at Charlie, who all the while is eyeing India. This is one messed up trio.

On the other hand, the film is beautifully crafted. From the opening credits to the closing scene, you’d be hard pressed to find a single frame that doesn’t engage the eye. The camera work is just as much a noticeable character as India, Evelyn and Charlie. Every shot is staged and beautifully photographed. While the overall storyline is shocking, the director’s beautiful camera work created a visually enticing masterpiece.