Stoker: The New Film From Park Chan-wook
Oct 2012 02

Never heard of Park Chan-wook? He’s only the South Korean director of OldboyI’m a CyborgJoint Security Area, and Thirst. South Korea has, in the last decade, produced some fine cinematic talents. As I mentioned in this article, South Korean directors are now making films in America, to show the ignorant masses in the West just what they’re missing.

Park Chan-wook: so bloody talented

Oldboy is more or less Park’s signature film. It’s the middle film in his Vengeance trilogy, and the best known. It’s hard to imagine another director who could weave such a complex narrative, operatic, but extreme and graphic acts of violence, and bravura filmmaking techniques into an emotionally-resonant and rich tapestry of a film. And I didn’t even mention the incest. Oldboy is one of those films that you have to see at least once, if you want to call yourself a film buff.

Thirst, released after the Twilight films took their own, angsty, vampire vibe into the mainstream, is about as distinctive a vampire film as you’ll ever see, featuring some strong performances and a genuinely unusual and surprising narrative. I’m a Cyborg is distinctive and surprisingly sweet, depicting a girl who believes herself to be a cyborg, leading to her committal to an insane asylum. Each entry in his varied filmography displays an unusual mix of unusual themes melded together by an engaging story, and it looks like the forthcoming Stoker will be no different.

After the death of her father, India (Mia Wasikowska)’s mother Evelyn (Nicole Kidman)’s already frail sanity is further tested by the arrival of her mysterious uncle Charlie (Matthew Goode), who comes to stay with them. It has been described as a psycho-sexual thriller owing much to the work of Brian De Palma, and, before him, Alfred Hitchcock. Nicole Kidman, despite her mainstream reputation, has an eye for a talented director, having worked with Alejandro Amenabar on The Others, and John Cameron Mitchell on the criminally-underseen Rabbit Hole, and the up-and-coming Mia Wasikowska should prove an able co-star. Matthew Goode, an actor who doesn’t get the body of work his talent deserves is perfect for the sinister but charming uncle Charlie, and with Park-Chan-wook orchestrating the onscreen entertainment, it definitely won’t be boring.

Stoker comes out in March 2013.


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