Park Chan Wook’s Stoker Preview – 28th February

In the last 10 years, South Korea has been rightly regarded as one of the leading players in world cinema. Whether it be pioneering horror, revenge movies or quality dramas, Korea has produced an abundance of quality films.  Undoubtedly the leader of this revolution is Park Chan-wook, visionary director of Oldboy, Sympathy for Lady Vengeance and Thirst.   His worldwide success meant it was only a matter of time before Hollywood came calling, and his English language directorial debut, Stoker, is premiering this February.

Mia Wasikowska (Alice in Wonderland) plays India, whose father has just passed due to a stroke.   Her mother (Oscar winner Nicole Kidman) wastes no time in moving in India’s Uncle Charlie (Matthew Goode) who appears to doing a whole lot more than simply helping India’s mother deal with the death of her husband.  Not entirely sure what her uncle’s purpose is, she becomes increasingly weary yet at the same time increasingly attracted to this mysterious man.

The trailer looks fantastic. It’s stylish and dark, the acting is solid and yet it doesn’t really give you any indication of what the film is actually about.  What we do know is that it’s a family drama and a horror film written by Ted Foulke, which was a pseudonym used by Wentworth Miller (Yes, Michael Schofield from Prison Break) and was touted as one of the best unproduced scripts of 2010.

Due to the title of the film and the ambiguity of the trailer, the initial assumption to make is that it is jumping on the vampire bandwagon.  Yet despite the fact that “Stoker” is a reference to the famous author of Dracula, Miller is adamant that it isn’t a vampire film.  He “It’s not about vampires. It was never meant to be about vampires. But, it is a horror story. A stoker is one who stokes, which also ties in nicely with the narrative.”  However, I’m not sure if he means this in the same sense that Mike Cahill’s excellent Another Earth is not a Sci-fi film, but a drama.  If the trailer was re-cut, it could easily be a vampire film.  The seductive man who has a power over women.  A girl who is “of age” and at one point it looks like Matthew Goode actually bites someone’s neck.  I think Wentworth Miller may well be leading us astray.

Vampire film or not, Park Chan-wook is one of the most iconic, visionary directors working today and I am stoked, pun intended, for his English language debut.

Categories: Previews


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