|The Frankfurt-Tipp rating:|
|Genre:||Thriller, Mystery, Horror, Drama|
|Production country:||USA 2012|
|Running time:||Approx. 99 min.|
For India Stoker (Mia Wasikowska), her 18th birthday should have been a very special, happy day. But the sudden accidental death of her father Richard (Dermot Mulroney) turns the girl's world completely dark all at once. Her mother Evie (Nicole Kidman) India brings only rejection and coldness. When her uncle Charlie (Matthew Goode), who has lived abroad for many years, shows up and wants to settle down in the broken family for a longer period of time, India feels abandoned by life. There is only anger and distrust in her. At the same time she notices that the mysterious Charlie exudes a fascinating charm, to which not only her mother seems to succumb. India also finds herself increasingly drawn to her mysterious uncle, unaware that she is connected to him in a very dark way.
With Stoker, acclaimed Korean filmmaker Park Chan-Wook delivers his Hollywood debut. Of course, there was some fear that the Oldboy director would have to swap out his sometimes very drastic and unconventional style for a more conventional and crowd-pleasing production due to pressure from US studios. This may be true in some respects, Stoker being much more straightforward than, say, the unusual vampire thriller Thirst. But that doesn't make the thriller well-behaved or slick.
The screenplay for the film was written by actor Wentworth Miller (Prison Break), who submitted the script under a pseudonym and landed it on the so-called Black List of the 10 best yet unproduced screenplays in 2010. Miller was inspired to write his story by the Hitchcock thriller In the Shadow of Doubt, to which he pays tribute throughout the story. But despite some minor structural similarities, Stoker is an entirely original work that begins as a drama, then morphs into a mystery thriller, only to culminate in tangible horror.
With a mesmerizingly morbid visual aesthetic, eerily beautiful shooting motifs, and a near-perfect set, Park Chan-Wook establishes an atmosphere within moments of the opening credits that is very difficult to escape. This engaging mood is supported by the very strong actors, who seem artificial in a great way, but still not artificial. Mia Wasikowska plays her complex role with a mixture of coldness and vulnerability, of seduction and insecurity, of youthful innocence and sly malice. Equal to her is a great Matthew Goode, who, in a smart Gary Grant look, thrills as a shady charmer with a very dark side. The fact that Nicole Kidman remains a little pale next to the two, is not so tragic, because this fits exactly to her role and fits so perfectly into the cleverly constructed story structure.
The film seems to reveal relatively quickly who Uncle Charlie really is, but the story still holds some surprises in its course, through which the tension level is kept at a consistently high level until the great finale. With a good pinch of deep black humor and some moments of macabre beauty, even the more conventional scenes of the film become something very special. Even though there are numerous borrowings from the Œuvre Hitchcock and other genre representatives, Park Chan-Wook has succeeded on the basis of Wentworth Miller's script a visually, dramaturgically and atmospherically great mystery-horror-thriller that fascinates, surprises and entertains in the best way. A disturbingly beautiful work that can be warmly recommended to fans of noble and sophisticated genre entertainment. Absolutely worth seeing!!
An article by Frankfurt-Tipp