Stoker (2013)

8.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 8/10

Great looking, great acting

Story fails at points

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Stoker

Studio:  Scott Free Productions

Genre(s):  Drama/Mystery/Suspense

Release Date(s):  January 20, 2013 (Sundance)/March 1, 2013

MPAA Rating:  R


Awkward family dinners are king at the Stoker house.

India Stoker (Mia Wasikowska) is an unusual girl.  Her heightened senses allow her to hear and see things most can’t.  Just before her eighteenth birthday, her world is rocked with the death of her father Richard (Dermot Mulroney).  At his funeral, India and her mother Evelyn (Nicole Kidman) meet Richard’s long missing brother Charlie (Matthew Goode).  Uncle Charlie however has secrets and India is out to uncover them.  As Charlie insinuates himself into India and her mother’s life, the truth of his past and what he’s doing will be uncovered.


Uncle Charlie knows if you’ve been naughty or nice!

Directed by Park Chan-wook, Stoker premiered at Sundance and was released in March of 2013 at art theaters.  It was the first film written by Prison Break actor Wentworth Miller who wrote it under the pseudonym Ted Foulke.  The film was well received and the low budget film broke about even in the theaters.

I loved the trailer for Stoker.  The creative trailer demonstrated the film’s darkness.  The film also had a plus going for it in that it was the first English film of Oldboy director Park Chan-wook.  The film has a lot going for it but also has some failings.


Uncle Charlie…You give the gift of life…and death!

The story borrows from a few sources.  The set-up has a lot of parallels with Hitchock’s Shadow of a Doubt (including the blatant Uncle Charlie homage) but the movie reverses the relationship between Charlie and India since India becomes infatuated with Charlie after she finds out some of his lies.  The name Stoker also gives allusions to Dracula and how Dracula inserted himself into the lives of Mina Murray’s life.  This combination of films leads to a dark gothic feel for the movie though it is set in present day.

The three main actors in the film (Wasikowska, Goode, Kidman) all do a great job in their roles.  They manage to play them creepy, cold, but still filled with an unspoken passion.  The style of the film lends to this type of portrayal and the cool distance that the characters all have in the film works.


This is how I lay out my shoes too!

Visually, I love Park Chan-wook’s work.  The he makes great use of his space and provides some great visuals…generally very stark.  This also goes back to Hitchcock and the film visually has a little bit of a Hitchcock feel.

*****Spoiler Alert***** The problem I do have with Stoker is that I don’t buy the ending.  I can see the cold nature of India so I could see her coming closer to Charlie only to kill him, but the final sequence where she kills Sheriff Howard (Ralph Brown) seems really out of character.  It isn’t necessarily that she’d become a killer, but she is supposed to be extremely intelligent.  A sheriff wouldn’t just pull a person and take no record…India doesn’t seem like she’s the type who likes to be caged, and she would go to jail.  It just doesn’t make much since to take a risky approach.

Stoker is decent, but it should have been even better.  It is the case where an ending hurts the movie a bit.  Wentworth Miller allegedly wrote a prequel film called Uncle Charlie and I’d be interested in seeing that made sometime.  Stoker is problematic, but it is worth checking out if you are a fan of Hitchcock and you’re curious as to how his films have evolved into today’s cinema.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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