Film Micrœview #31: Stoker (2013)
12.20.2013 § Leave a comment
The first time I tried to watch this I gave up half an hour in. The editing and camerawork were just so shoddy! This indicated to me that indeed the movie was as shitty as it seemed like it was. I love some of Chan-Wook Park’s movies so I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt, but this one wasn’t looking like it was going to work out.
I finished it the next day and indeed it sucks. There is no point to this movie. It’s only merit is its production design, and even that while done well is way overdone. I get it. Everything is beige and hazel and lights are all magenta.
None of the characters made any sense. The story made no sense and was devoid of meaning. The writing was depressingly bad, like, non-native bad, even though it was written by a native speaker. The actors, even if they did their best with the material, made it worse. The music was bad and uneven (at one moment went kinda noisy out of nowhere?) The camerawork and editing, as I mentioned, were just like — you know when a movie like, has shots that are in motion for no reason, and then it cuts back to that same shot later also in motion, so you feel the missing piece of it, and you’re realizing that basically they just didn’t get any good shots, or didn’t really have a plan and just shot a bunch of bullshit and cobbled it together haphazardly in the editing room, and you just feel disoriented and disgusted and can’t stand watching moment by moment the utter lack of vision and coherency that is shitting all over the moving image? That’s what was going on. Maybe one or two moments were pretty striking or inventive, like when India starts moving on a merry-go-round, her feet off-screen, us not having seen the merry-go-round at all, only having seen some other playground equipment in out-of-depth-of-field-blurriness… or when the brush through Kidman’s hair turns into an overhead shot (recalling some of the beautiful God’s-Eye-View shots of Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance) of brush India’s hiding in with her dad in the past…
This is the kind of movie that makes me wonder whether all movies I watch outside of my native tongue are likeable largely because of the forgiveness I give them in not natively appreciating the decor, inflection, tropes, etc. And makes me certain that I will never attempt to make, like, a French or Japanese or Russian movie or something. Jesus! I feel like a bunch of doo-wop victorian goths or something over here.