STOKER Blu-ray Review
There are movies that come along now and again that are difficult to wrap your head around after one viewing. Stoker by Park Chan-wook is just that type of movie. It is the first English-language film by the acclaimed filmmaker who is best known for Oldboy and Thirst. Stoker arrived on Blu-ray this week from Fox Searchlight and features some cool special features. If you are looking for a subtle horror film that will make you think, then Stoker is a perfect choice.
Stoker stars Nicole Kidman, Mia Wasikowska, Matthew Goode and Dermot Mulroney. India Stoker’s (Wasikowska) father tragically dies on her eighteenth birthday. Her strange uncle Charlie (Goode), whom she never new existed, mysteriously appears at her father’s funeral. Charlie decides to stay awhile and moves in with India and her fragile mother (Kidman). They are both drawn to his charming demeanor. Soon the families shocking secrets from the past begin to resurface, threatening to change the lives of India and her mother forever.
Chung-hoon Chung has served as Cinematographer for each film, and has given each a stunning visual style thanks to the use of long luxurious shots. Stoker employs some cool off-kilter camera angles and natural lighting to make it unique. OIdboy is a fantastic film, and sadly one of the only other of Chan-wook’s films that I have seen. It is the first film of Chan-wook’s that I would recommend starting with. Stoker makes me hopeful for what is possible for him as a director stateside.
The violent scenes are not every other second, which makes them even that more powerful when they occur. I found myself not being able to look away when they were happening. Partly because some non-traditional weapons are used. If you love gore don’t worry, there is plenty of blood, but it is highly stylized. Whoever was in charge of the blood spurts was having a lot of fun.
Mia Wasikowska continues to impress me with her versatile roles. She is perfect for the role of India because she her character changes throughout the film. At the beginning she is almost in a cocoon-like state where the further detached from society, the happier she is. The more she interacts with her uncle Charlie, the more she comes out of her shell. He is like a kindred spirit of sorts, and for once she feels as though she feels something. Goode is not in as many films as I would like him to be. I enjoyed him as Dr. Manhattan in Watchmen, and this was a great edgy role for him. Kidman turns in one of her best performances in a while in Stoker.
The video and audio quality is impressive for this Blu-ray. The DTS-Master 5.1 Surround track makes the film sound impeccable. The lighting and the visual style that I mentioned above look simply beautiful on Blu-ray, in fact this is one of the best looking discs that I own. It helps that it was actually shot on 35 mm film and the transfer to 1080p was done well. Stoker looks and sounds superb for these reasons.
There are some great special features on the Blu-ray, all of them in HD. Check them out below:
- Deleted Scenes
- Stoker: A Filmmaker’s Journey
- Photography by Mary Ellen Mark
- London Theater Design
- Theatrical Behind-the-Scenes
- The Making of the Limited Edition Poster
- Mysterious Characters
- Director’s Vision
- Designing the Look
- Creating the Music
- Red Carpet Footage
- “Becomes the Color” Performance by Emily Wells
- Theatrical Trailer and TV Spots
- Sneak Peek