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: Nicole Kidman, Dermot Mulroney, Mia Wasikowska, Matthew Goode, Harmony Korine
  • Director: Chan-wook Park
  • Screen Writer: Erin Cressida Wilson, Wentworth Miller
  • Producer: Michael Costigan, Tony Scott, Ridley 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 Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

    Lily Collins stars in Harald Zwart's fantasy action-adventure, based on the first novel in Cassandra Clare's bestselling series for young adults.

  • Film4

    The Rise

    Luke Treadaway, Neil Maskell and Timothy Spall star in this Leeds-set heist caper, the debut feature from writer-director Rowan Athale.

Register with Film4.com

Personalise your Film4 experience

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

or Register

Tweets @Film4

  • RT @room_movie: Congratulations to @EDonoghueWriter for winning Best Screenplay at the Evening Standard British Film Awards. #ROOM https://…

  • Our late-night highlight at 1.20am is Michael Apted & Curtis Hanson's surfing drama Chasing Mavericks. https://t.co/CMWthM5Q4P

  • "Nobody beats me in the kitchen." At 11.15pm, Steven Seagal is back as Casey Ryback in action sequel Under Siege 2. https://t.co/J4mLVvJdiv

  • Tomorrow night on Film4, Penny Woolcock explores 50 years of British urban life in @BFI short Out Of The Rubble. https://t.co/wmg3mrvTG3

  • Coming up next at 9pm, Sean Bean has his sights set on ex-CIA agent Harrison Ford's family in Patriot Games. https://t.co/R8HJLblggk

Share