Saturday, 4 June 2016

Stoker (4 Stars)

Sometimes you need to do something bad to stop yourself from doing something worse.

The Stoker family is a wealthy family that lives in Conneticut. Richard, Evelyn and their daughter India. How wealthy are they? They have a large house, and they have a maid who lives with them to do the cooking and cleaning. Any family that can afford to employ a servant to live with them must have a lot of money. The house looks like something out of 19th Century England, but it's 21st Century America.

On India's 18th birthday news comes that her father has died in a mysterious car accident. His car swerved off the road and burst into flames. At the funeral Richard's brother Charlie arrives, a brother that none of the family have ever seen because he's been travelling the world on business since before Richard and Evelyn met. Charlie says he feels like it's his duty to look after the family, and Evelyn gladly gives him a room in the house. He soon becomes too comfortable. India is shocked to see that her mother is flirting with Charlie only days after her husband's death.

Charlie seems to take his responsibility as the new head of the family seriously, although it goes to the point of obsession. He drives India to school, then stands outside the school waiting for her to finish so he can drive her back home. When he sees boys bullying her because she won't talk to them he beats them up brutally. India slowly becomes fascinated with him.

This is the first English language film directed by Park Chan-wook, best known for "Oldboy". The film moves slowly, gradually building up suspense. When the film began I assumed that it was just about a creepy uncle taking over a family, but as it progressed it was gradually unveiled that the whole family isn't quite as harmless as it seems. India tries to find out Charlie's secrets, but she also has to find out about herself.

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