I don't think there was innocence to
begin with.
"Innocence Ends"

Welcome to Tuesday at the Tagline! Grasping after a movie to review, I sought out some new movies to take in. I ended up through a series of events settling on Stoker, a film directed by Park Chan-wook, a Korean director I was already familiar with from his earlier movie Old Boy (a movie I can heartily recommend you watch if you like dark dramas) Stoker stars Mia Wasikowska (who I previously enjoyed in the most recent rendition of Jane Eyre) as India Stoker, a moody, creepy girl whose father has just died as the film begins. At the same time, her uncle Charlie (Matthew Goode, probably you know his as Ozymandias from Watchmen), whom she did not know existed, comes to live with her and her eccentric mother Evelyn (Nicole Kidman). Immediately it is apparent that Charlie is a not okay guy, India is a not okay girl, and her mother is also... well not okay. I wasn't sure what exactly was going on at first , but it was clear that something very strange was occurring. Murder was clearly in the offing, but I couldn't be sure who was doing all that murdering.

Will Mia ever play a not creepy moody lead? No I doubt it.
As it happened, there were apparently enough murders to go around. Despite the liberal application of pretentious scene composition, and whispered dialogue, I slowly began to realize that despite being called Stoker, there would be no vampires, but there would be a lot of murder and weird sex stuff. Mostly, the important liner notes are that Charlie is a psycho murderer who is slowly picking off the entire supporting cast, Evelyn is pulling a Queen Gertrude and jumping right into bed with her husband's brother who killed her husband. Evelyn and India enjoy a mutual resentment for each other. India has a weird attraction to Charlie, probably because she seems to have weird sex feelings about murder. All in all, if you've seen other movies directed by Park, this is not especially surprising stuff.

She just wants Charlie to stay away from her daughter,
even though she hates her.
While the plot's mysterious pacing and slow reveal might appeal to some people, all in all pretentious just drips off of every angle of the way the movie is composed. There's lots of people whispering for no reason, suddenly bursting with nonsequitors or sudden unexplained actions. The movie's opening scene is chronologically from the END of the movie, for no perceivable reason, other than to be obtuse. The camera is perpetually panning and spinning, there are fancy fades between scenes, and some segments are so vague that it is unclear whether or not the things being shown are actually happening.

She's gonna get you, because she CRAYCRAY.
While I have liked other movies that Park has directed, I felt like the plot of this one was just a little too... senseless I guess. Everyone is just so inexplicably bonkers, for seemingly no reason, that it becomes difficult to suspend your disbelief. Charlie being a murderer and lunatic because he was covetous of his brother's attention... okay. India also being a murderous sex-deviant for apparently no reason feels like the movie is trying way too hard. In related news, Shame on you internet, when I type Mia Wasikowska into Google, the first thing that comes up is "Stoker shower scene" which for you who haven't seen it, is people on the internet fishing for a scene in the movie where she masturbates in the shower. That would be sad, but her character is fantasizing about her uncle breaking another person's neck. That person was trying to rape her. I can't think of anything less sexy but... I guess it takes all sorts? The point is, ew internet.

Quick shout out to aunt murdered in a phone booth.
The bottom line is that, while the film is attractive in its setting, decently written and well composed, it can't get out of its own way, and is so busy trying to be mysterious and profound and edgy that I just couldn't get over it and enjoy the movie. It was like in every scene the movie was going "LOOK AT HOW PROFOUND AND GROWN UP I AM" That just isn't the way you want to be doing it.

That's all for today! Hopefully the next movie I pick out of the hat is slightly less up its own ass!

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