Who’d have thought Wentworth Miller would have a semblance of a career after “Prison Break” – well, he looked like he badly needed a workout in Resident Evil: Afterlife.
Then again, we were proven wrong when it was revealed that his initial foray into screen-writing would become the Hollywood debut for cult-favourite Korean director Park Chan-Wook. The helmer behind Oldboy and Sympathy For Lady Vengeance gets to indulge his off-kilter flourishes in Stoker.
I’m really not much of a thriller person, but the film won me over not just because of the gorgeous Nicole Kidman but also of fellow Aussie Mia Wasikowska (a long long ways off from the titular Alice In Wonderland of Tim Burton’s adaptation) who plays the central character of high-schooler India Stoker. Park manages to imbue in that ingenue the understated tension that has been identified with the anti-heroes from his two above-mentioned Korean masterpieces (forgive me, haven’t seen both films myself)
As for Miller’s script, it shows a good debt to classic Hitchcockian tropes; Park opts to amplify these with signature touches and visual motifs (the daddy-long-legs spider, India’s Mary Jane shoes). Matthew Goode shows a great deal of restraint in nurturing India’s burgeoning murderous tendencies; on the other hand, Nicole Kidman is suburban ennui deliciously packaged in a classy (thankfully not trampy) manner, an inebriated Stepford Wife.
Especially love how the Nancy Sinatra-Lee Hazlewood collaboration “Summer Wine” centrally figures in a crucial encounter.
Haunting in a vintage manner, it clearly encapsulates the inner turmoil beneath the idyllic existence of the Stoker family. The aural atmospherics of said track complement India’s relative isolation from her friends at school.
Well, it seemed that Stoker might have got me rediscovering the thriller – or maybe not (one does not get across these kinds of films very often)