Stone – A Preview

Stone might seem like an odd choice to write about this month, seeing as there are other, more potentially interesting, films being released in the shape of Reel Steel and Senna.  But on paper, Stone has the potential to be a first rate film due to a stellar cast lead by Robert De Niro and Edward Norton.  However, after their previous outing in 2001’s The Score, which also starred Marlon Brando, you could be forgiven for thinking this could well be another lackluster outing from both parties.

 

You see, there once was a time when anything with Robert De Niro would have been considered a must see film. But sadly, since the release of Rocky and Bullwinkle, the De Niro stamp of quality has long since gone.  He seems to have almost given up and Righteous Kill may have been the last straw for some. The same could be said for Edward Norton.  What happened to that rising star of Primal Fear, Fight club and American History X?  Rumours of an inflated ego and refusal to take part in the promotion of The Incredible Hulk, seemed to suggest that he had forgotten about his first priority which is acting.  So needless to say, I went into Stone with low expectations.

 

Based on play by Angus MacLachlan, who also wrote the screenplay, Stone follows Jack Mabry (DeNiro), a parole officer whose last case before retirement is that of Gerald “Stone” Creeson (Norton).  A convicted arsonist who plots his release from prison by using his lascivious wife, played by Milla Jovovich, against Jack whilst simultaneously appearing to find faith.   Stone could well have represented another run of the mill prison drama, but in the hands of a good director and armed with a good script, it really does represent a return to form for both Edward Norton and in particular Robert De Niro.  The film is dialogue heavy, but this allows De Niro and Norton to shine and provide some top performances. The direction from John Curran is solid too.  Nothing too flashy, and simply allows his actors to do what they do best.  His choice of score, beautiful yet sometimes haunting, fits perfectly too. 

 

Stone might not be for everybody as its polarized reviews suggest.  But if you are fans of De Niro or Norton and have been waiting for a triumphant return to form, then I suggest you look no further than Stone.  

(first published in Octobers issue of Grove Korea Magazine)

Categories: Film, Previews, Reviews

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