Viewing your Watchlist and recommended content requires Javascript

  • 18
  • Drama, Mystery
  • 2013
  • 98 mins

Stoker

Film4

Synopsis

When absentee uncle Charlie Stoker (Matthew Goode) mysteriously returns in the wake of his brother's death, his niece India (Mia Wasikowska) finds herself oddly drawn to him despite the fact he quickly strikes up a relationship with her widowed mother Evelyn (Nicole Kidman). English language drama from director Chan-wook Park.

About

A film poised on a knife edge, Stoker is only ever moments away from being trite, laughable, or still worse, coming on like a Tim Burton disciple just saw their first Hitchcock and decided to make an on-the-nose tribute. And yet it is none of these things, but rather a compelling Grimm fairytale set in the social milieu of the sorts of people whose houses have pools and private tennis courts and who summer in the Hamptons. Rich people, in other words, but of a certain stripe: their preppy, countrified Waspishness is so ingrained that India (an excellent Mia Wasikowska), who is not really so very unusual a girl at the start of the film, stands out like an ink blot on a crisp linen handkerchief.

Certainly India’s recently bereaved mother, Evelyn (Nicole Kidman), is perplexed by her attitude - at least, she is when she finds the time to be: she’s mostly too busy flirting with Uncle Charlie (Matthew Goode) to notice India’s ennui. This is a wonderfully slippery performance from Kidman, at different moments evoking different roles from her past (perhaps incredibly, there are shades of her characters in To Die For, Eyes Wide Shut, Birth and even The Golden Compass all in the mix). The past is important in Stoker, and Goode is fantastic in the role of somebody whose agenda and history unfolds with predestined languor - he may act as a protector to India, yet we can tell from the get-go that this guardian angel has been sent straight from hell.

Fans of this director’s previous films may be expecting ultraviolent set-pieces and live octopus ingestion, or similar. Despite its 18 certificate (granted at least in part because of a masturbation scene intercut with images of sexualised violence), Stoker’s main charm is in its drip-feed eeriness, with Chan-wook Park’s sly direction spinning an oddball script from Prison Break actor Wentworth Miller into cinematic silk.

Cast & Connections

  • Actor: Harmony Korine, Mia Wasikowska, Matthew Goode, Nicole Kidman, Dermot Mulroney
  • Director: Chan-wook Park
  • Screen Writer: Erin Cressida Wilson, Wentworth Miller
  • Producer: Ridley Scott, Michael Costigan, Tony Scott
  • Photographer: Chung Chung-Hoon
  • Composer: Clint Mansell

In a nutshell

Repulsion meets Shadow Of A Doubt and enacts a tweaked Electra complex in Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland. Sexy, perverse and memorable, Stoker lingers in the imagination like an enjoyable hangover.

by Catherine Bray

Latest from Film4...

  • Film4

    The Tale Of The Princess Kaguya

    Studio Ghibli co-founder Isao Takahata directs this delicately hand-drawn Oscar-nominated animation that's based on a 10th-century Japanese folk tale.

  • Film4

    Diary Of A Wimpy Kid: Dog Days

    Zachary Gordon stars in the third film in the family comedy franchise, based on Jeff Kinney's hit pre-teen novels.

    On Film4: 31 Jul 1:00PM

  • Film4

    Chef on Film4

    Jon Favreau, Sofía Vergara and Scarlett Johansson star in Film4's network premiere of Chef.

  • Film4

    The Big Lebowski On Film4

    Catch the Coen Brothers' best-loved comedy The Big Lebowski on Film4.

Register with Film4.com

Personalise your Film4 experience

  • Set film reminders
  • Build your watchlist
  • Get film suggestions

or Register

Tweets @Film4

  • Details / tickets right here: https://t.co/gIPicS94XY https://t.co/aBjvqQlieZ

  • RT @david_t_cox_: A week til @film4 Summer Screen at @SomersetHouse starts! Tkts still available for films by Roeg, Wilder, Sciamma, Donen,…

  • RT @Film4Insider: Lots of great Film4-backed films in this list! From Mona Lisa & Naked to Under The Skin, The Lobster & Carol... https://t…

  • RT @peter_strain: My @TrainspottingHQ @Film4 @SomersetHouse #summerscreenprints now on Sale! @printclublondon https://t.co/G8XghFyg5r https…

  • Aug 7: @PamHutch & @IsStevens celebrate Gloria Swanson & the female stars who ran Hollywood: https://t.co/48awAvCQrr https://t.co/GLmHJWHFxt

Share