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Very well made film...dark and expressive.
jojeesmiles17 July 2013
I almost DID NOT watch this movie due to the fact that the horrible reviews were really horrible and those people seemed to absolutely hate this film.I decided to give it a shot anyway and I am certainly glad I did. I sat down to watch the film expecting it to be bad and it was not. I loved it. The acting the was spot on, the characters flawless in their representation. The plot was extremely interesting. The movie as a whole was captivating. The only thing I hated about it is that it was over. It's not an action-packed, explode in your face kind of film. It's thought provoking, dark and highly enjoyable. I am glad I gave it a chance. It's a film more than deserving of the time I spent watching it and one I will own for myself.
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Disturbing and beautiful
LifeVsArt24 May 2013
"Stoker" is a beautiful, twisted, hypnotic trance - it's meant for an audience not overly concrete in it's thinking but who have an open imagination and are able to take the plunge into the darkly poetic vision of it's director. "Stoker" doesn't exist in a normal, everyday reality - it's more of an alternative dream reality, hyper-aware and sexually charged. The three principle actors are superb, but Mia Wasikowska really gives the film a beating heart, as she emerges from her innocence into her latent self - a mesmerizing performance. This movie is filled with images that are as disturbing as they are lyrical and open to endless interpretation (along with a subversive wit). I've seen the film multiple times and find that my impressions change with each viewing and that it has really haunted my imagination. "Stoker" is one of those unique and mysterious masterpieces that I'm sure I will be returning to frequently over the years - there's much to drink in, as the well runs deep.
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Stoker: everything you love about Park-Chan Wook movies, just dialed down a couple notches
ianfarkas921 January 2013
Warning: Spoilers
As a fan of Chan-Wook Park's Korean films, particular his gross twist on a vampire story in 2009's Thirst, I was incredibly excited to see his first English language offering. Stoker, the first film made stateside by CWP, defiantly doesn't disappoint. This is largely due to the director staying with what he knows, telling a story that has all the dark hallmarks from his Korean works. However, Stoker is also less extreme then one would expect from Chan-Wook Park, as many moments of violence and depravity that could have been much more over the top are toned down.

Stoker focuses on the titular family of India, Evelyn, and Richard Stoker (Mia Wasikowska, Nicole Kidman, and Dermot Mulroney). When Richard dies in a mysterious car crash, his oddball daughter India begins to further distance herself from her estranged mother, Evelyn. After burying their patriarch, the family is visited by India's Uncle, Charlie. Charlie seems a little out there, and begins to form a sketchy relationship with India that suggests Uncle Charlie may desire more than family bonding.

To elaborate any more would spoil the film, but needless to say it's an interesting premise. The story unfolds very slowly, with few dramatic developments until the second half of the film, which contains much more wizz-bang than the somber and meticulously paced beginning. This isn't a bad thing, largely because the characters are so fascinating from the get-go that accompanying them while they go about their day to day lives is a pleasure. Even when the movie seems to be resting on its laurels early on, the performances are great all around (in particular Wasikowska's performance as distant and on-edge India). Except for a few odd holes, the script stays strong throughout, providing plenty of great dialogue courtesy of Wentworth Miller (you read that right,the dude from Resident Evil: Afterlife. Who saw that coming?).

Of course, the strongest link in the chain is Chan-wook Park. From the opening scene of fragmented shots with computer generated transitions that occur throughout the movie, his mark is clearly laid on the film. Stoker never has an ugly moment, and each shot oozes with that distinctive Chan-wook flair. My personal favorite is an early scene in a basement involving a swinging light fixture (think Once upon a time in the West). The only thing that feels absent compared to CWP's other efforts is a slew of neasea-indusing scenes whose only purpose is to shock the audience. Although Stoker has a few jarring moments (think showers), for the most part its very restrained compared to Chan-wook's other works. This is fine up until the last act, when the nature of the story demanded for a more powerful and shocking denouement then what was given. So despite not quite sticking the landing, Stoker is effectively creepy, well acted, and an enjoyable beginning to what I hope will be a long English language career for Chan-wook Park.
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Intriguing and disturbing
lianaki-imdb31 August 2013
Without the appropriate cinematic skills, this film could have sunk completely, but thanks to Chan-wook Park being a master of psychological thriller, it came to be a nice work of art. A great manipulator of the audience's emotions, he meticulously constructs the movie in such a way to get you exactly where he wants you throughout it. He might be a little bold, but he knows how to keep the balance.

"Stoker" obliges you to stay fully conscious all the time to keep up with the symbolisms and invites you to use your imagination. The director wants a participating audience, is ambiguous on purpose, loves to make us wonder and speculate just as much as he loves leaving us room for interpretation when the film ends. Deliberate loose ends and cut scenes, designed to confuse the viewer and cause uncertainty.

Much like with his all-time classic, puzzling masterpiece "Oldboy", Park wants to disturb you. An exciting, twisted story, very powerful scenes, even scenes that many people won't be able to tolerate. A compelling story about dark nature and sickness, about liberating yourself and becoming aware of your desires. Violence is portrayed with scenes focused on beauty, and sexuality is portrayed dark and repressed.

I liked the script by Wentworth Miller (although I don't think the script gets full credit for the suspense created here), and I found Mia Wasikowska's performance superb.

This film is dark and might make you feel disgusted or uncomfortable. But for me, the beauty of the scenes, the emotions it provokes and how it climaxes, made me think of it as a piece of music.
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'Stoker' is a rare case of an Asian Director's first English language film not being a let down
nrbarton6 March 2013
What typically happens when a prestigious Asian Director makes the transition to their first English language film is that the resulting feature is a stylistically watered down, less edgy affair and the worst film of their career. Presumably, Hollywood studios interfere so much they end up robbing them of what people loved in the first place. I can firmly say with utter relief that this is not the case with Chan- wook Park's 'Stoker'.

Stylish, artistic, beautiful, controversial and feeling much more like a movie from his native South Korea; Chan-wook Park is bang on form. All that's changed is the actors are American and speak in the English language, and the location of course. I sincerely hope Hollywood takes note that this is how to do it right! Don't interfere with the artist and corrupt and americanise their vision. However, I have heard there was a 20 minute enforced cut made to the film by an editor for the studio. Here's what the Director has to say about it:

"It's just such a different animal from what I've experienced in Korea," he says, "but it's just like how you can't really complain about the weather in the States when you're going over to shoot a film. The Searchlight people had good taste, though. There were some differences of opinion, but at least they didn't make any nonsensical remarks."

Chan-wook Park is responsible for such acclaimed movies as 'Oldboy', 'Lady Vengeance' and 'Thirst'. Until now at least, 'Oldboy' was his most famous movie, and an American remake nobody wants is due for release soon. 'Stoker' is admittedly less violent and more subtle than those movies, but only because frequent action isn't suitable for this particular script. It's primarily a character study focusing on the loss of innocence, and I'm sure some less contemplative people hoping for frequent action will be disappointed. When it comes to style and controversy though, this movie delivers and was everything I'd hoped it would be. It's stunning to look at and almost every shot is symbolic. More often than not it's sexual symbolism regarding loss of innocence, and the same goes for the frequent symbolism in the dialogue. Furthermore, there's a wonderful Hitchcock feel to it and clearly pays homage to 'Shadow Of A doubt' with a character called Uncle Charlie.

The writer is Wentworth Miller, an actor, and this being his first screenplay makes it all the more impressive. Erin Cressida Wilson (Secretary, Chloe) is credited as contributing writer. Based on the quality of this movie, Wentworth Miller needs to get writing some more screenplays.

I also felt the subject matter was a perfect match for Director Chan-wook Park, who's no stranger to controversial themes. It's a really rather pervy film, even if done subtly, artistically, and almost entirely non-explicitly. However, there's one particular scene I found gloriously wrong and solidified my opinion that the filmmakers had at least been respected and the goal of the studio wasn't to tame and americanise the Director. However, it will be interesting if a Director's cut comes out, or at least deleted scenes to see what cuts were made and if they were a good move making it less baggy or toning it down. The important thing as of now is that the result is a great movie. Movie critic Chris Tookey, for The Daily Mail, was disgusted by the film, so it can't be that toned down. A one star review from this man almost guarantees greatness.

The title and characters' surname 'Stoker' has obvious vampiric connotations, so some will be wondering if it's a vampire movie. Well it is and it isn't There are no fangs or capes or turning into bats, but the name 'Stoker' is certainly no coincidence. Vampire mythology, literature and movies are loaded with symbolism of the sexual predator seducing the innocent. Furthermore, one of the definitions of the word 'vampire' is non-literal, simply meaning a person who preys on others. Vampires are also natural hunters and killers and there's a nature verses nurture aspect. These themes are essentially what the movie is about.

Nicole Kidman plays mother 'Evelyn Stoker', and Matthew Goode plays charismatic, creepy Uncle 'Charles Stoker', but there's simply no argument as to who steals the limelight and it's Mia Wasikowska (Alice In Wonderland, Jane Eyre), as 18 year old 'India Stoker'. The actress is 23 but easily passes for an 18 year old. Her character is the main focus of the film and I feel she was perfectly cast for the role. She's old enough to be sexy, yet young enough looking so you feel a little conflicted about thinking so, and, despite her innocent appearance, has a facial quality that you can believe hides a personality more sinister. The character she plays is deeply intriguing and her acting as a dark, sexually ripe, moody introvert was magnetic and convincing. If it happened to be awards season, I'd say she was in with a chance of some nominations, but then when does subtle acting as a quiet introvert ever get nominations?

It may only be the beginning of March, and there's been a lot of great movies so far in 2013, but I think 'Stoker' is the best film of the year at this point. It's not only the exception to the rule that Asian Director's first English language features are watered down missteps, but it's a film I thoroughly enjoyed and left the cinema genuinely excited about. You know that feeling when you find a movie that you really connect with and you can't wait to tell everyone about it? It's one of the best feelings in the world. Produced by Ridley and Tony Scott, 'Stoker' is an example of Hollywood getting it absolutely right, so please go and support it.
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Twisted Cinema
billygoat10716 March 2013
Stoker is a psychological thriller that you might not expect. It's not the usual type of the genre. The storytelling is in pure style and it features its terror in a completely twisted way. It's a weird cinematic experience that might stuck in your head for some time. It didn't offer much new to the plot but it creates a both melancholic and terrifying atmosphere to the picture which made it fascinating. What's more fascinating is the filmmaking understands the psychosis beneath it and it clearly shows them on screen. Stoker is quite peculiar but in a remarkably stunning way.

The story is just simple but it is told very differently. Thrillers usually slowly builds the tension of the plot until it gets to the point that everything what's happening is not right. Here, it already shows the oddness of their lives. The only thing it does now is to explore what's happening to the characters and what they are going to do. The plot isn't really that complex but it's all rather provocative. It embraces the strangeness that is manipulated from the two Stokers. It's not ought to be scary or anything. It's all about taking the ride on their horrifying acts. These scenes are, without a doubt, bizarre and somehow disturbing.

The film has a set of amazing talents. Mia Wasikowska has always been lovely and talented. She gives a sense of weirdness inside of her innocence which is perfect to the character. Nicole Kidman makes a great desperate mother. Matthew Goode adds some creepy mannerism to the psychotic Uncle Charlie. It's easy to get infatuated by his deceiving charms. The violence is a bit tamed for a Chan-wook Park film, but here, he aims more at the fortitude. He fills them with an impressively energetic style which helps executing its eerie. The gorgeous cinematography captures the melancholia of their world. Everything is just stunning.

The story isn't really that subtle or original but Stoker is a stylishly made film that will give you a quite different experience. Instead of jump scares or whatever tricks that typical thrillers use, the film rather tests the anxiety of the audience in these strange haunting exteriors. The film is not trying to be innovative but the reason why it's interesting is because of its intense use of filmmaking styles. It leaves the clichéd modern thriller plot points for a while and it simply tells the story by exploring these people's little twisted lives. Overall, it's visually captivating despite of the horror underneath the surfaces and that what makes the film so appealing.
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Nicely shot, well acted and utterly pointless
denounce31 July 2013
I read many of the reviews on this site before deciding to watch this movie. And since I really like slow moving psychological thrillers I gave this move an honest chance. That should not be given.

The movie is well shot, well acted, yet utterly uninteresting. The story does not build up in any straight direction, you never know what is real and what is not and there is just so much confusion in the storytelling that I never really knew where I was standing. I began to wonder if there would be some grand twist in the end, and was waiting for it through one pointless scene after the other, just to realize the ending could be seen a mile away and all that confusing storytelling really amounts to absolutely nothing.

I would recommend this movie only to people who can sit through two hours of something they are not exactly sure whether it is what you are watching. Just terrible in my opinion. The entirety of the story could be summed up in 30 minutes and it would make for a wonderful short movie. But as it is - it is tedious and unrewarding.
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A Potpourri of Vestiges Review: Chan-wook Park's ode to the Master of Suspense, Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock
murtaza_mma2 July 2013
Stoker, celebrated Korean director Chan-wook Park's English-language debut, is a dark, disturbing and diabolical film about an introspective young girl named India who witnesses the loss of innocence following the sudden and untimely death of her beloved father. In Stoker, Park's fixation for the bizarre and the morbid is once again on full display. But, he is clearly a bit more cautious than usual. He seems to keep his characters on a tight leash for a much longer duration, and this makes the movie's first half appear much slower and less hyper than a typical Park film. But, once the dust settles down, the viewer is treated to sheer mastery of Park's craft.

In Stoker, Park pays homage to the master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock. Those who have seen Hitchcock's 1943 thriller Shadow of a Doubt wouldn't find it hard to draw parallels. Park limns a colorful canvas like only he can and his characters tread it like spirits caught in a limbo. While the characters are highly emotional, their strangely selfish actions make it difficult for the viewers to sympathize with them. Chung-hoon Chung's alluring cinematography gives the movie a hypnotic feel. The acting of movie's three lead characters viz. Mia Wasikowska, Nicole Kidman, and Matthew Goode is quite brilliant and in that order.

Overall, Stoker is an intriguing work of cinema that despite managing to stoke the fire of curiosity may still leave any keen-eyed, intelligent viewer high and dry. Those accustomed to watching the quintessential Hollywood product are likely to find Stoker very strange and deeply disturbing. But, if you are looking for something different to break your monotonous daily routine then Stoker will surely not disappoint you. 8/10

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Style Over Substance
redskyfilming6 June 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Having watched the terrible decline in many areas of movie making over the past 20 years, i think 'Stoker' is a clear example of a movie that is all style and little else. Chan-Wook Park seems to be idolized by the chosen few who seem to think his movies are pure art. Quite where this comes from i have no idea. Take the 'Stoker' storyline; Daddy dies, Uncle appears from his travels, Mummy falls in love with Uncle, Uncle has a crazed sexual longing for his niece, cue over the top killings. Add to all of this a collage of 'so called' cool scenes including the bursting of a foot blister in extreme close up, the spreading of tennis balls on a court, nicely placed boxes of shoes on a bed, an egg being rolled around a table with a weird crunching sound,the daughter dressed in strange 'Meeks Cutoff' movie leftovers,the Uncle who drives a sports car alongside a school bus of screaming girls, the horrendous eating sounds of the daughter at each meal time (maybe something to do with her super hearing) and on and on. A total mess of footage that we are meant to see as 'total Art-house'. Matthew Goode must have laughed his way through this garbage thinking of the paycheck. Nicole Kidman simply did what she has done in many of her previous movies by acting strange. Last but not least, the very over rated Mia Wasikowska who simply plays the oddball and is better known for her unpronounceable name and whiter than white skin. This movie is typical of today's output by directors making a name for themselves with sub standard crap pretending it is art.I have not been so bored since i watched the aforementioned 'Meeks Cutoff'. Straight in with a bullet as one of the worst movies of this decade.
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Eerie, Creepy, but Not Quite Everything it Tries to Be
rsj62417 December 2013
Warning: Spoilers
--WARNING: There may be some spoilers ahead for those who haven't seen the film, so just a heads up. In order to accurately review this film, it may be necessary to talk about some key moments.--

Sometimes a movie tries to do a little too much, and Stoker is a great example of such a film. I feel as if I am one of the few who while watching this movie wasn't very impressed by anything it tries to do. It's a story about a girl who grows up shying away from society and all it's norms, and begins to become inspired more or less by her charismatic, yet outwardly creepy uncle, who shows up to comfort her mother after a tragic car accident takes her husbands life, who also happens to be said uncle's brother. He in turn is infatuated with her.

The obvious things about this film that should be creepy are as eerie as can be without gore and disturbing imagery, but what keeps this from being a good watch is more due to the ever widening gap between blockbusters and indie films. These middle of the road films that try to look big budget with modest financing all to often grant themselves a campy and dated vibe, almost having a made for TV type gloss to their finished product, and when this movie in particular chooses to be stylized from time to time it often ends up looking amateur and even cliché. The flow of these stylized moments also lack good pacing as they occur either in quick succession or disappears all together for extended periods only to start showing up in troves again at a later time. It's far more distracting than it could ever been seen as a means to accentuate the film; and it makes things feel less serious and organic.

It's other weakness is in it's decision to favor the less than plausible over sensibility and logic. One would assume for entertainment reasons, yet it's a mystery to me how any entertainment could be found most of the time during this film. Mia's character gives a good hour run just buying into this mans insanity, only to pull a complete 180 in the last fifteen minutes. It's also beyond hard to believe that no one single authoritative figure could pieces together how suspicious it is that her father just happens to die the exact same day that he picks up this mentally ill uncle from an institution he was committed to for something very similar in nature when he was growing up. Don't people have to sign release forms and stuff at those places?

It's almost as if is movie was written without a clear intent or a consistent motive planned throughout, and in the end a jumbled up puzzle of confusion and creepiness prevailed without any solid message. It's clear why everyone's the way they are, yet their resolves, their choices, and even their actions throughout the film feel forced from an illogical world of ridiculousness, as if the only reality that exists is within the perimeters of their house, a highway, and a restaurant type place. When Nicole Kidman, who plays Mia's mother, begins to piece everything together, why would she call the uncle she suspects of foul play into the bedroom upstairs of all places? Again, in terms of logic, it couldn't feel more like a sandbox film.

Maybe if this film was deliberately shot low budget as a showcase of a friendship between the uncle and niece that budded into a unique understanding of one another through not accepting society and people, it would've been a much more interesting movie, or even more so as a period piece during the 1800s or something. But instead, it's a messy blend of style and eerie atmosphere that lacks proper pacing and feels very haphazardly put together. It tries to empathize with it's leads and give reason for their madness, but instead it comes off as relentlessly grim and faithless all too often, as it doesn't give much of a chance to things like hope or even common sense as plausible tools to pull a character through a situation. It paints a picture of the introverted and angst-ridden individual as a kind of 'different' that automatically rejects all basic human reactions to norms and situations, like no one trait could exist without all the rest of an assumed identity or label to be present, inevitably leading to the worst.

Case and point: **Biggest Spoiler** Mia's character ultimately becomes her uncle in the end by taking his life and begins her pursuit of freedom by following in his footsteps, which is all the more evident that he understands this by smiling at her before she offs him. This could've been a unique and creative film moment even if disturbing, but instead the film's aforementioned grim and faithless interpretation of introverts makes this an eye roller rather than an "Oh My God!" moment. Fortunately, you will find some moments of resolve if you stick this one out till the end; where you may go "yes! thank you!", but those moments are short lived, as it's clear they only exist as a way make sure in the end that more people enjoyed their experience watching this than hated it. Color me jaded; I did't buy most of Stoker.

Anyways, just to clarify, the subject matter and the story on a whole had potential to tell decently disturbing tale, and the ideas on display where not the worst, nor where they the ultimate problem. It's depth just suffers serious sense and direction, and it's surface seems like it would've been much more suited for a gritty horror film, or even a lower budgeted blatant indie type art thriller more so than this unfortunate throwback made-for-TV-meets-straight-to-DVD fare it tries to pass off as something much more grandiose in the end.
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A modern update on Shadow of a Doubt
Red-Barracuda17 February 2013
This is the first English language film from South Korean director Chan-Wook Park. He is probably most famous for the intense psychological thriller Oldboy. With his American debut he reigns in the extremity somewhat but does retain the visual inventiveness that is also one of his trademarks. In many ways Stoker is a modern update of Alfred Hitchcock's Shadow of a Doubt (1943). Like that one, this film has a mysterious uncle re-emerge into the life of a family after many years of absence. Before long it becomes pretty clear that all is not as it seems with this man and he is in fact extremely dangerous. The main character is an 18 year old girl called India Stoker played by Mia Wasikowska who was recently in the not very good but very popular Alice in Wonderland. She leads the film very well and carries off the bookish character effectively. There is also able support from Nicole Kidman as her mother.

The look and feel of Stoker is impressive. The atmosphere is well sustained throughout. If I had a criticism it would simply be that the story ultimately isn't all that original and there aren't really a lot of surprises. What it does do though is to take a fairly standard psychological thriller story and make it interesting by way of cinematic techniques. It isn't a movie that is exactly going to break the mould but it is pretty accomplished nevertheless and is a pretty good first English language feature from its director.
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jsmn-kane1 April 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I cannot imagine how this got so many high reviews! Frankly, my husband and I sat there appalled at what we were viewing. Yes, it had wonderful cinematography (the only redeeming quality), otherwise it was plain awful.

My husband was laughing at how bad it was, nothing made sense, even the end left me feeling as if I just wasted 2 hours of my life. Nicole Kidman plays an idiot, as she going off on her diatribe of why she had kids, I was yawning, and I noticed the guy a row away was sleeping. Dialogue between characters was weak, Uncle Charlie looked wide eyed and crazy the whole time, surprise, he just came out of a loony bin and has this weird fixation on his niece (which never makes sense at all).

Good luck if you want to see it, I recommend highly you do not, we went as we saw it had 7.6 on IMDb, we were upset we trusted this rating system. Next time I might try Rotten Tomatoes.
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The ultimate so-what experience..
CineCritic251717 March 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Stoker, a half baked thriller with overly lush visuals about the infatuation of a young woman with killing and the sudden appearance of an estranged uncle who apparently shares the same interest.

Rather than being suspenseful, the film turned out to be a patchwork of silly acting, awkward scripting, listless pacing and an incomprehensible choice of narrative structure that is simply unsuited for this kind of film. Someone ought to revisit and study the classics and until such time, apply for a job in the food service industry.

It is obvious from the get-go that the girl and her uncle are psychos, so why limp around aimlessly for two hours getting a point across that couldn't have been made more clear already 10 minutes into the film?

Is having a plot too much to ask these days?

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Don't pay to see this one !
derfball12 December 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Yes, stylized, imagery, and technically okay. But the plot holes and many details make no sense. 1> Charlie would have little knowledge of India; since he was locked up as a child, well before she was born, he would only know of her by what his brother might have mentioned to him. 2> Not liking to 'be touched' is a sign of serious issues, like warped familial relationships (her mother, okay), sexual abuse, or mental illness. Why would such a girl 'love' her father dearly? IF that condition WAS known to Charlie, that's why he felt 'connected' to India, because, as it turns out, both characters are sociopaths, and he had and recognized that trait. But he started writing to her just after she was born, so how would he know? 3> Almost ALL Hollywood writers/directors/producers have little real knowledge of weapons, as do most 'low information' folks, and this film is ridiculous, 'as usual'. EVERY hunter knows you don't hunt birds with rifles, because, as shown @ end, you hit a bird with a rifle bullet, the bird explodes -- pretty hard to either stuff it or eat it after that!

I could go on, but why? If you want to see a flash of Mia's right nipple during her masturbating scene, fine, but that's about the best this picture has to offer. To compare it to Hitchcock's masterpieces does the rotund fellow disrespect. 'Stealing' his ideas and techniques is for student films. We don't need any more 'homages'.
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Damn right insulting to the human race.
charliejsch4 November 2013
Warning: Spoilers

My girlfriend put this movie on, so I had no prior knowledge of this movie. I kept on thinking throughout the movie that there is some supernatural twist, some mystical twist, something hidden; boy was I wrong. To summarize this piece of garbage: they're all nuts.

The mother is such a useless character that has temper tantrums and does nothing all day. The brother's real character is that of a child. The main character is shallow and shows no emotion. I can't relate to any of these characters. The moral of the story, if there is one, is a grim one at best.

This horrendous movie really upset me. The acting was okay for the characters they were playing, the cinematography kept me in suspense. However, I couldn't relate to anyone. Nearly every character was out to get her, as though she was always the victim. It seems as if there is a hidden secret behind her motives and mysterious past, yet, when it comes down to it there is nothing; only a sour taste for the viewer when this disaster ends.

Stoker only shows how how human beings can murder, and how easy they can get away with it. At least make the bad guy funny, or give them a reason to do what they do.

If you hate humanity in some way, you love this movie.
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Guess this movie is a living proof that IMDb ratings are overrated
kuklei22 June 2013
First of, the actors and director do an amazing job, so don't get me wrong there but the movie itself is awful.

Very slow, very predictable, no climax, no point, no nothing. This movie simply is a living proof that IMDb ratings are paid by the producers themselves in order to sell the movie. No other explanation can I give to the 7.1 rating at the time of this review. If you don't believe me please find some spare time (but don't take if from anything thing even slightly important...just find some dead time) and watch it. After that please leave a rating here and I am sure the ratings (if not manipulated) will drop immediately.

I know movies are like the food we eat and based on taste, but I am sure that there is no one to taste this movie up to a 7star rating.

Bottom line, waste of time.
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Stoker made me want to watch a Michael Bay movie
lunchboxwanderer18 June 2013
Warning: Spoilers
About 25 minutes in, I felt like I had been trapped in a coffin for 196 years like Johnny Depp in 'Dark Shadows.' No stimulation, no light, no sound, just complete darkness and a dreadful sense I'd never escape.

I know it was 25 minutes because I kept checking how long the movie had been going because nothing had happened until then. I prayed something would.

Anyway, due to my emotional investment and over inflated ego, I thought with actors like this, and a director like that, I couldn't be wrong and it would get better.

Like all of my prayers, this one went unanswered. I grabbed a Kleenex and blew my nose. I grabbed another to wipe the tears from my face, thinking I must be a really bad person for God not to have answered this one too, for it was my most sincere by far! So, here I sit, an empty box of tissues by my side, another hour and a half of my life wasted, and just praying again for better judgment.

Sniffle, sniffle...
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Blood ties explored in a poignant and disturbing manner; striking; beautiful
morganstrk6 February 2013
I was privileged enough to view this film at the annual Sundance Film Festival and I must say it was well worth the time and wait. The cast itself includes some incredibly talented and experienced names, yet it is India (Wasikowska) and her raptor-like awareness, that truly sets the tone for the film when drawing upon the mystery and oddity of supporting characters who sink deeper into their roles like fangs in flesh as the film clicks along.

The script itself could be rewritten with more depth and attention to the emotional wealth and strange sway of the characters, for all of them are skilled enough to operate powerfully under the shroud of mystery director Park Chan-Wook erects so flawlessly, yet the film could be much improved in tragic and horrifying value through a more tailored script.

Editing must also be noted, for Chan-Wook's is very engaging in that it utilizes the temporal frequency to link certain events, building upon India's character and the internal struggles of those who surround her, as well as the realization of her uncanny ability to cope with the revelations that come about and fit so frighteningly together.

The audience comes to realize that some mysteries are exclusive only to those who are bound to travel the same blood trail that links generations in infinite conclusion and everlasting despair and a terrible longing and love can be as exclusive in it's own forbidden and lonely way.

The soundtrack is pleasantly surprising and fitting, with a piece from Clint Mansell (Black Swan, Requiem for a Dream) and the debut of Emily Wells's "Becomes the Color", which serves to chart India's multifaceted transformation. I strongly recommend this film and highly praise actors Mia Wasikowska, Nicole Kidman, Matthew Goode, and Dermot Mulroney, who all contribute to the initial and lasting allure.
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park chan-wook sycophants
erwin-smolders20 September 2013
One of the other review writers termed it perfectly. Style over substance. All the critics (and most of the reviewers) could talk about was how lovely everything looked. No one cared about the story, or lack thereof. There is no real plot, the ending has no meaning, but heaven forbid we offend the visionary park chan-wook. Whenever someone did comment on the story, they did the easy thing. They blamed the writer. If a lesser known director had been in charge, and if he hadn't compensated for lack of a good story with fancy camera techniques, thus wowing the critics, this film would never have been given a second look.
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A Not So Thrilling Thriller
ianzgreat17 March 2013
Given the cast and the director I (at the very least) thought I'd be in for a wild ride. I was wrong.

To begin with, the script written by PRISON BREAK's Wenworth Miller is obvious, clunky and weak. The dialog is stilted and stagy.

The film thinks it's thought provoking and daring, but we've seen it all done before and much better. The only reason these actors could have done this film is because of the usually exciting director - who clearly let his actors down this time. Maybe something was lost in translation...

This is a thriller done lite, boring and not in the least bit thrilling. I waited and waited for it to take off and it never did.

If this were a directorial debut, I might have thought that this director has a lot of potential given a better script.

Don't bother. Only loyalists could give this film a good review.
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TheTruth7477 April 2013
I am fan of the director's earlier couple of movies - Oldboy and Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance. The characters in these movies had depth for an emotional connection. The screenplay was masterfully crafted and the cinematography was flawless too.However, I have mixed feelings for Sympathy for Lady Vengeance. Considering the director's previous films, I went for Stoker expecting something new,deep and gripping. But, the movie was beyond disappointing. It was borderline awful.

While the shots and frames are beautiful in Stoker, the movie on the whole and characters lack soul. It appears that the director wanted to make something very abstract without delving into much depth. The characters open mysteriously which makes you wonder about who they are, but very soon they all become too cartoonish.

The story of Stoker is wafer-thin and the director makes no bones about it. The director desperately tries to impress with his serene shots, refreshing soundtrack and shock-value but he remains desperate till the very end. The movie fails on both arty and entertainment values. There are way too many loopholes as well and the by time the movie credits roll, you're thankful that it's over.

Make no mistake, this is nowhere near the director's best. The most disappointing aspect of it all is not the movie, it's that a great director gets a chance in Hollywood to showcase his talents and he fluffs it big time.
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no suspense, predictable outcome
stephan-hofbauer7 October 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Sorry for the wasted time. No idea where the good ratings come from. Repeatedly we see women taking a shower but unlike in "Psycho" they are just taking a shower - o.k., the girl masturbates, obviously turned on by the killings (or started the killing aftewards?). Its not worth talking about so I will not go into detail. Just another bad movie. To make it 10 lines (that's the minimum length, I've just been told): Is there or is the not a head in the freezer? How does the boy get on top of the girl (rape!) after he's been tied up by the uncle and kicked by the niece - did they just arrange it to make the neck-breaking more spectacular? So, that will be 10 lines if I manage to finish this one - I refuse to add anything more about the film.
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Waste of my money
josh-monie3 March 2013
If you enjoy being distracted by unnecessarily complex cinematography and bored to death by the flat dialogue, go and see this film.

If you are, however, a fan of films that actually somewhat entertain you, do NOT see this film. I am an avid film fan and filmmaker myself and am normally very open to different and "quirky" styles of filmmaking.

STOKER, however, was something I wasn't willing to accept. After the first 40 minutes, all that appears to have happened was the cinematographer's 11th orgasm and a girl had played piano.

The pacing was appalling, the script was unentertaining. I understand the need for simple, effective dialogue but this took it to another level. The lead named India was undeniably creepy yet was unable to provide any real momentum. The mother was quite frankly annoying to watch for any more than 10 seconds and Uncle Charlie just seemed to float around, occasionally uttering blindly obvious or stupidly confusing anecdotes, depending on the scene.

Whilst a small number of scenes actually brought some tension to the story through the use of clever parallel editing, the remainder was unfortunately spoiled by the DP's obsession with shots that craned and tracked and racked focus at every possible opportunity - they say good cinematography should blend seamlessly with the story. This did the total opposite.
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Just awful. I resent the time I wasted watching this dross.
njreid29 September 2013
What a criminal waste of a wonderfully talented cast. The almost completely obvious plot resolves in a tedious, completely unbelievable way, but that doesn't even matter because the director has given the humble viewer absolutely no reason to care about any of the characters.

It's properly amazing someone has been able to do so little with so much talent - Mia, Nicole and Jackie are all absolutely top notch, and Mathew Goode was excellent in the most recent Brideshead Revisited adaption. They are all capable of so much better, more engaging work.

The audience certainly doesn't learn anything about humanity, nor is it fantastical enough or sufficiently suspenseful to be in any way entertaining. Run, don't walk, away from this really bad piece of cinema.

Not worth the energy I spent pushing the go button on my Roku remote to get the film rolling, let alone the $6 I paid Amazon to stream it.
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What a mess...
starcraftbw882 February 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Felt like it should've been a 10 minute short, in the first few scenes you already know the uncle and protagonist are weirdos. Somehow this movie is able to stretch so much out of nothing; there is no suspense, the script is dull and uninteresting, the story is bland and predictable, the performances equally bland - Wasikowska and whoever played her uncle have one expression throughout the entire movie. It felt like I was watching paint dry, this movie was BORING and pointless.

It gets a 2 for its style and cinematography, but that doesn't overshadow the fact that the story sucked.
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