Oldboy director Park Chan-Wook toned down the violence and perversity of his Korean films for his first Hollywood outing, Stoker.
But not by much. When a character commends a garden’s soil for its softness, you get the feeling he’s not planning to plant begonias. The garden in question is the haunt of solitary teen India Stoker (Mia Wasikowska) and the man digging is her charismatic uncle Charlie (Matthew Goode), who turned up for the first time in her life on the day of her wealthy father’s funeral. As India wavers between fascination and suspicion, her highly-strung mother Evelyn (a brittle, nervy Nicole Kidman) succumbs to the newcomer’s charm.
The pace will be too languid for some tastes, but Chan-Wook heightens the air of longing and dread with lush colours, rapt close ups and a spine-chilling score. Slow and fanciful (with nods to Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt), this heady Gothic thriller isn’t for all tastes, but does boast a stylish, sensual and unsettling air.
Released on Blu-ray and DVD by Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.
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