Review and Re Enactions Related to Stoker

7 Mar

I was excited for Park Chan-wook’s Stoker before I knew who was directing, I was sold when Nicole Kidman waxed on the mother-daughter relationship in a vengeful fashion. Then when I found out it was the first English language movie from the South Korean film titan behind the Vengeance Trilogy I was more excited than when I get a re-tweet from a stranger. My calendar was marked and I let the anticipation build, while trying to keep myself in the dark with anything else regarding the film. 

Re Enactment of what happened after watching this Stoker Clip:
“What could make a mother actively wish for her child’s demise? Oh, and it’s directed by the same guy who was fearless enough to make an action revenge movie where one of the character fucked his own daughter. This is going to be psychological torture on celluloid. What kind of effed up story will this film be about? What action provokes that amount of venom from a mother?  My imagination is running wild. I wish I had place on the internet where I could poorly write my stupid opinion about this. ”

SOWP_4

Last weekend the film opened with a limited release in the states. I was in front of the line to get my Stoker on. My excitement was not rewarded. The film spent the first thirty minutes building suspense, then the next forty minutes stretching my goodwill toward the film, then there was some blood to season the otherwise bland last thirty minutes. There was about eighteen minutes worth of interesting ideas that could be stretched to fill a broadcast hour, but the 98 minute running time was too much. It was a dull film, with interesting monologues and beautiful shots. There was no payoff, or hint of payoff.

This film had so much potential and it squandered it on setting up this tedious mood that is forgotten, at best, and more likely abandoned at some point in post production. Park seems like he’s saving for his child’s college education, and then when he graduates from high school he forgets he has the money to buy his kid a spot Harvard and instead tells him he’ll have to work at a gas station while he pays for his own community college.The aforementioned Nicole Kidman monologue was so good and she nailed as she wont to do in tear-soaked close-ups.  And that scene was great, but it wasn’t interesting why she said it, actually it seemed fairly petty all in all. It could have been that the mother knew more than she was letting on, but her character was pretty aloof.

In fact a large part of my disappointment stemmed from the lack of depth in any of these characters. Nicole Kidman brought the goods to her role, but even her character was developed about as much as a guest star on a broad sitcom. Matthew Goode’s character was inconsistent, and he was too good looking for India Stoker (Mia Wasikowska) to hate just because she didn’t know he existed. He rarely had any menace on-screen, whenever he entered a scene it seemed like there was going to modeling competition to see who could wear a tennis sweater better. He looks good and, how shall I put it, his other January Jones-esque traits worked against him in this film.  Goode is not a very intimidating villain, which worked nicely in Watchmen, but fell very flat here.

SOWP_5

Re Enactment of creating the paint-by-numbers characters of Stoker:
Writer #1 “This character needs to feel like an outsider, let’s make her get made fun of by some cool boys.”

Writer #2 “Yeah, they’ll say really mean things to her.”

Writer #3 “Why are they making fun of her?”

Writer #2 “Because she needs to be an outsider.”

Writer #3 “But, why is she being made fun of? What makes her an outsider?”

Writer #1 “The audience needs to be on her side. People can relate to outsiders.”

Writer #3 “But why is she an outsider?”

Writer #1 “Oh, I see the confusion here. We’re writing this script so we can make her whatever we want. And we want her to be an outsider.”

Writer #3 “I get it, but did she do anything to become an outsider?”

Writer #2 “You don’t get it. We’re her god and we can do whatever want to her. It’s like God made us writers. We didn’t have to do anything. We’re just writers.”

Writer #3 “but-”

Writer #1 “Fine. She’s wearing saddle shoes. They make fun of her for wearing saddle shoes. Happy?”

Writer #3 “Gold!”

This film was a disappointment in every way. I walked out of theater realizing why it was released March and wondering what kind of black magic the marketing director had to conjure up to get people to see this movie. I hope that re-watching the Vengeance Trilogy will act as a time machine to take me to a time when I didn’t know this film existed.

Re Enactment of what I hope will happen after watching Oldboy:                                          “Wow, that’s great. Quality filmmaking. I really hope this guy makes an English language film some time in the future. Wait, I’m being greedy. I think he should just keep pounding out Korean masterpieces and never has to deal with the Hollywood creative process. That’s my dream.”

C.Charles

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2 Responses to “Review and Re Enactions Related to Stoker”

  1. angelaperea13 March 7, 2013 at 12:47 pm #

    Oh no. Tell me you missed something. That you went to the bathroom or had to refill you bottomless popcorn tub. Perhaps you got a text during the film and looked away and missed it. Missed that thing that makes Chan-Wook unique and great. Please tell me you missed something.

    • ccharlesconfidential March 8, 2013 at 12:17 am #

      There was good stuff in the film. Things that looked beautiful, but the pieces were greater than the whole. It just didn’t work together for me. If it was a short film, 20 minutes, could’ve been the best 20 minutes of my life, at an hour and half; torture

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