Thursday, September 27, 2012

Stoked! (See what I did there?)

Do Americans use that word? "Stoked"? As in to mean "excited". Because if they don't, they really should, if for no other reason than it goes really well with the anticipation levels for Chan-wook Park's next movie, titled Stoker. Moving on...

So, many of you may be aware that I don't like Oldboy. I know I am in the minority, but I find its nihilistic ugliness so completely and utterly repellent. I am, however, much more on board with Chan-wook's Thirst and Sympathy for Lady Vengeance, which I think are both fabulous movies that are stunningly photographed and feature a ball-busting, magnetic central female performance at their core. It's a major relief then that the man's English-language debut - not a vampire film as was once rumoured, but a drama about a particularly mean-spirited and secretive, affluent family - appears to be more in the vein of those two aforementioned titles, and not Oldboy. A major relief for me, of course, but I can't speak for others (although response to the trailer has been uniformly positive from where I've been sitting).

"You know, I've often wondered why we have children. And the conclusion I've come to is we want someone to get it right this time. But not me. Personally speaking, I can't wait to watch life tear you apart."

Personally speaking, I can't wait to watch Nicole Kidman devour her role as an evil mother with all the relish of Mo'Nique in Precious. Kidman is so, so good in villainous roles (To Die For, The Golden Compass for instance) and she appears to have some juicy moments amongst the ravishing cinematography of regular Chung-hoon Chung. While Wasikowska looks typically wan as always, some of the images within the trailer hint at a darker bent to her usual style. Plus, who I'm loving seeing Jacki Weaver there in the fogged up telephone booth, as well as those ever-piecing eyes of Matthew Goode.

It certainly helps that the trailer itself is well put together - although the fate of one character seems a bit silly to ruin - that one can't quite get a grasp on it despite the deluge of images and plot. The release of Stoker - March next year for America, although a local release is unknown it's certainly assured given the Australian-heavy cast (three generations!) - can't come soon enough. Even with all the big awards season heavy-hitters coming our way, this is one of the very top crop of anticipated movies. "We don't need to be friends. We're family."

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