India Stoker (Mia Wasikowska) was not prepared to lose her father in a tragic accident or the sudden arrival of her Uncle Charlie (Matthew Goode), whom she never knew existed. When Charlie moves in with her and her emotionally unstable mother Evie (Nicole Kidman), India thinks the void left by her father’s death is finally being filled by his closest bloodline. Soon after his arrival, India comes to suspect that this mysterious, charming man has ulterior motives intent on keeping it in the family. Yet instead of feeling outrage or horror, this friendless young woman becomes increasingly infatuated with him.
Oldboy South Korean director Park Chan-wook returns to the big screen with his first English language film. Stoker is a psychological thriller filled with erotic tension and glorious attention to detail. The story focuses on family secrets, blood ties and dark lies, which unravels and builds like a slow turning screw.
The performances, which help keep the plot afloat and often elevating it along with the superb direction are the films best qualities. Mia Wasikowska is hypnotic and chilling, as is Matthew Goode whose character bares many similarities with that of Anthony Perkins in Psycho.
Littered with metaphors and symbology, Stoker is visually outstanding and beautifully perverse. The camera work is at times claustrophobic and gothic but always elegant with a soundtrack that is subtle and haunting. Stoker does not play out like a typical thriller and it’s certainly not a horror film, but what you get is an erotic psychodrama that has more than a hint of Hitchcock about it and if you like the sound of that, you’re in for a real treat.