Ding ding ding! Winner! We’ve got our possible winner for the worst movie of the year.
It’s the English-language debut by Korean director Park Chan-Wook (Oldboy, Seeking Mr. Vengeance). There was recently a screening of his movies at the Reading Cinemas, and I must admit, I’m not that familiar with his work. After watching this mess, I’m not sure I want to be. Stoker is filmed well, with stunning and stylish images. Unfortunately, it’s just a mess.
Mia Wasikowska first came to my attention in the fabulous The Kids Are All Right. She’s the only thing I liked about Albert Nobbs and Jane Eyre. Her and Helena Bonham Carter were the only two things I liked about Alice in Wonderland.
She’s not the only one that’s great in her role here. Nicole Kidman is outstanding as the widow that’s hitting the bottle, and seems to be developing a crush on her brother-in-law.
He’s played by Mattew Goode, who is good in everything he does, too. He was so great in The Lookout, Matchpoint, and A Single Man – that I can forgive him for doing garbage like Leap Year and Brideshead Revisited.
Jacki Weaver, who was so great in Animal Kingdom, has the same problem here that she had in Silver Linings Playbook. She’s stuck in a nothing role.
Here’s the story. India’s father (Dermot Mulroney) dies in a car crash, and her uncle shows up to live with her and mom. She is bothered that she didn’t know about Charlie, but soon falls for his charming ways. We sense he has eyes for her, too.
We’re sure of this when we see the wonderfully shot piano duet. It gives the Jack Nicholson/Michelle Pfeifer cello scene in The Witches of Eastwick a run for its money.
The first hour of this movie is the epitome of boring. There are splashes of symbolism, I think. My friend and I were both a bit confused by it all. I had read something that mentioned a reference to the title having something to do with Bram Stoker (Dracula), so I always had that on my mind. My guest didn’t, and after the movie he was confused about everything that just happened on screen (he’s a smart guy that’s an engineer).
You really don’t understand what motivates the characters to do the things they’re doing, especially when they start involving murder. I kept thinking it was going to be like Let the Right One In. We find out eventually that little girl is a vampire. In this, we never really know what the reason is for any of this. Even a scene that shows her dad teaching her how to shoot a gun in a flashback – since he knows she’s going to need this skill, isn’t really explained (although it does come in handy at one point – spoiler alert).
The storyline is incoherent and unnecessarily melodramatic. You really don’t care about anyone or anything happening in this movie, and the whole experience leaves you feeling cold.
The movie could’ve also benefited from some scary moments, or perhaps a few humorous ones. Okay, it could’ve used anything!
The critics are going to overly praise this (like they did with Oldboy), and the audiences are going to hate it. I’m going to be one of the critics that hated it.
It gets 1 star out of 5.