Written by: Wentworth Miller
Directed by: Chan-wook Park
India’s beloved father dies unexpectedly on her eighteenth birthday, leaving her with her mother Evie, with whom she has a cold relationship, and her uncle Charlie, who suddenly appears in her life for the first time. Charlie has an odd, creepy charm, and he stirs longing — verging on obsession — in both India and Evie.
As the story unfolds, Charlie’s sociopathic nature becomes increasingly clear. What we don’t know is his motive for suddenly involving himself in the lives of his brother’s widow and his niece.
Probably the most intriguing part of the film is the shifting, increasingly unsettling dynamics among India, Evie, and Charlie. It seems that one of them will inevitably become a victim, but we aren’t sure who it will be.
Stoker is visually mesmerizing with a wonderfully dark Gothic feel. India is at the center of the film. She is a strange, watchful girl, prone to chilly silences. India’s one real passion seems to be for hunting. Her parents’ mansion is filled with her trophies: stuffed birds. (Shades of Psycho.) She sees the world in a odd, disconnected way, focusing on visual details and distant sounds most people wouldn’t notice, and the director’s lens skillfully shows us the world through her eyes.
This is a gorgeous, suspenseful movie that evokes a strange, disquieting mood that thoroughly absorbed me. I also enjoyed the unfolding murder mystery, which kept me guessing throughout the film.