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STOKER

Director: PARK CHAN-WOOK

99 minutes, U.S.A.-U.K., 2012, Colour, D-Cinema


After a string of hard-hitting, strikingly conceived films in his native Korea, including the legendary Oldboy, Park Chan-wook now makes his American debut with this skewed rites-of-passage story.

Mia Wasikowska is the bookish, slightly withdrawn India Stoker, distraught at the recent loss of her beloved father, whose adolescent emotions are already in turmoil when Matthew Goode’s urbane and handsome Uncle Charlie pitches up at the house. His immediate effect is to charm her volatile mother (Nicole Kidman at her most ferociously brittle), which only gets India’s hormones racing even more – but is the suave interloper just awakening something which was there already?

Echoes of Hamlet and Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt add to the title’s vampiric resonance as Chan-wook’s film plays a delicious tease and the atmosphere around the dinner table darkens considerably. The exquisite visuals, dreamlike in their expressive intensity, are the chief intoxicant here, as Chan-wook makes a concerted effort to sustain the intensity even after dark secrets are revealed. (Note by Trevor Johnston.)

This film will also be discussed in The Critical Take, the IFI’s FREE monthly film club, on March 27th (18.30). Want to join the debate? Simply book your FREE seat by contacting the IFI Box Office on 01 679 3477 or emailing boxoffice@irishfilm.ie (given that events can sell out, please note that your emailed booking requests must be confirmed by reply email from the Box Office in order to be considered valid). 

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