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Movie review: 'Stoker' goes wild with Hitchcock style

Published March 22, 2013 1:45 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

When you're going to rip off Hitchcock, you might as well go for it with both feet — as Korean director Park Chan-Wook does in his first Hollywood film, the eerie thriller "Stoker."

When the patriarch of the Stoker clan, Richard (Dermot Mulroney), dies in a mysterious car accident, the news hits his wife, Evelyn (Nicole Kidman), hard. But their awkward daughter, India (Mia Wasikowska), who turned 18 on the day of the accident, takes it harder. Evelyn and India have little time to mourn when Richard's long-absent brother Charlie (Matthew Goode) arrives, stirring the loins of mother and daughter. But India starts to see Uncle Charlie's dark side and is both repulsed by it and attracted to him.

Park (who directed the Korean classic "Oldboy") amps up every moment with a sweaty, ghoulish atmosphere, and he plants the Hitchcock references like an Easter egg hunt. There are a plot point from "Shadow of a Doubt" and swinging light fixtures out of "Psycho," among other things. But Park's bravura directing moves, while giving Kidman and Wasikowska some meaty scenes to chew up, cover the glaring story holes that screenwriter Wentworth Miller (yes, the actor from "Prison Break") leaves all over the field.

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