Feature

Stoker

A mournful teen becomes infatuated with her uncle. 

Directed by Park Chan-wook(R)

**

This provocative Gothic thriller begs for the kind of appreciative study you might give to an insect, a stuffed bird, or “the sketch of a gifted artist,” said Richard Corliss in Time. The first English-language film from Korean director Park Chan-wook, it lacks “emotional kick,” but it’s “lovely to look at” and fun to discuss. Mia Wasikowska is “chillingly good” as India Stoker, a gloomy 18-year-old, said Betsy Sharkey in the Los Angeles Times. When a suave uncle materializes after her father’s death, she and her mother (Nicole Kidman) compete for the newcomer’s attentions. While all three actors breathe life into this creepily incestuous triangle, Matthew Goode “proves to be quite brilliant at making your skin crawl.” Yet despite a wealth of “oddly arresting” scenes, the plot “feels forced, mannered, and, ultimately, vacuous,” said Claudia Puig in USA Today. “Gaping plot holes” and weak dialogue undercut the sense of Hitchcockian peril that Park tries to build, and he ends up with a film that’s “more fragmented than frightening”—a blend of “feverish violence and stunning beauty” that’s also simply tedious.

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