Stoic - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Stoic Reviews

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½ January 26, 2011
This isn't entertainment, it's a shock-fest just trying to outdo itself every 20 minutes.
January 14, 2011
A heated game of poker causes three men incarcerated for nonviolent offenses to brutalize their cellmate before taking drastic measures in order to cover up their crime.
½ December 31, 2010
I just was not engaged by this film. The disturbing scenes felt like shock value, the acting wasn't that great and the movie was actually pretty boring. Uwe Boll still sucks
November 14, 2010
A pretty screwed up movie about some messed up occurrences in jail cells. This one, being particularly ''inspired by a true story.'' They definitely aren't dandy. An intense movie for sure. It portrays 3 cellmates picking on another one. It all starts with a seemingly harmless bet he makes in a game of poker. From then on, everything starts going down the drain. Beatings and all. Very gritty and of course, disturbing. In all, a decent film.
October 30, 2010
Brutal and torturous unimaginable horror. It pisses me off how people can do this to another human being and how the guards dont come to see what all the noise is about so they can stop it. Great performnaces from lead actors though!!
½ October 16, 2010
Very graphic, and brutal movie! Definitely not for the weak of heart to watch. Wow...
½ September 2, 2010
Por fin Uwe Boll hace algo digno. Me ha gustado lo directo que es en esta película, la verdad que el tío no es tan malo como dicen copon.
July 6, 2010
Wow. This is terrible, brutal, and unimaginable. How much of it is based on facts, I don't know but it may be worth looking into. If it did happen this way, it never, ever should have.
If it was the director's intent to make me feel horrified, he has succeeded. This is quite disturbing.
Nate Z.
Super Reviewer
½ June 28, 2010
Until recently, it would have been unthinkable to associate Uwe Boll with the idea of social activist. This is the same man who has caused people so much pain and with his movies, ranging from bad to ridiculously bad to "You cannot unsee what you have seen" bad. The German director who has caused so many film and video game fans suffering seemed an unlikely candidate to seriously explore the suffering of others. And yet Boll's heart grew three sizes and he directed a slate of movies with a social conscience. His movie about the genocide in Darfur is still circling around, awaiting a release date, but let me stop to remind you that Uwe Freaking Boll directed a movie about a topical humanitarian crisis. This is akin to... Eli Roth directing an Edith Wharton adaptation ("From the director of Cabin Fever comes ... Ethan Frome!"). It just doesn't seem like an organic pairing. Boll is used to blood and boobs (both of the mammary kind and of the idiot variety), not social relevancy. You don't expect an exploitation filmmaker to shine a light on exploitation. While we await his Darfur movie, in the meantime is Stoic, a quick and cheap movie about three prison inmates (Edward Furlong, Sam Levinson, Steffen Mennekes) brutalizing their cellmate, Mitch (Shaun Sipos) when a bet goes wrong. It's based on a true story from a German juvenile detention center, so we're told.

So what kind of movie is Stoic, actually? Well, for starters it's an uncomfortable one. The movie aims to show the capability of human cruelty and how easy it is to become compliant within a group, to go along with the flow despite some murky moral hazards. The three cellmates end up kick starting a cycle of violence, each trying to top the last so as not to appear weak or to damage ego. Can this cycle of cruelty be stopped? The dehumanization leads to some rather brutal and disgusting acts of violence and degradation including forcing Mitch to eat his own vomit, dumping urine on the guy's face, raping him, and sodomizing him with a broom handle ("Just curiosity, I guess," explains one of his attackers). Despite all this, there are actual moments of restraint on Boll's part, particularly during the rape sequence. The audio drops out, the edits become jump cuts stuttering ahead through time, and I thought perhaps Boll was maturing. Needless to say this thought was torpedoed a tad when Boll later showcased the inmates rubbing the bloody broom handle over Mitch's unconscious mouth. Stoic is essentially a torture movie; it's 80 minutes of literal torture with some extra psychological justification tagged along for safe measure.

Where Stoic comes into issue is whether or not it possesses any merits to justify watching 80-some minutes or torture. The movie doesn't offer much in the way of psychological insights or rich characters. Watching people become increasingly hurtful is not the same as exploring the habits that make such escalating acts of barbarity occur. Boll and the actors pound us with the message that we're in prison and prison has its own operating system and everybody jockeys for position; Peter (Levinson) repeatedly tells us that he feels sorry but felt he had to participate or else they'd turn on him. It's all about having somebody weaker to take the fall. I'll give Boll credit that the amplification of events seems plausible given the circumstances, to the point that the three guys have come to the conclusion that there will be serious consequences for their actions unless they convince Mitch to go along with a fake suicide. The movie maintains believability even as things get more and more out of hand, which is commendable. But what isn't commendable is that there seems little reason for Stoic to exist. Normatively the movie is simple: three guys pick on another guy. The characters are all slight variations of one another based upon the level to process guilt and deception. During the interviews, we're given fleeting glimpses at denial and coping mechanisms, mainly lying ("I would've remembered something like that.") to self-rationalization ("I kept saying to myself, 'As long as it's not me.'"). There aren't many insights to be gleaned from the brief interviews, which serve as commentary.

Boll decided to make Stoic his Mike Leigh film, meaning that he had the basic outline of a story and told his actors to run with it while he filmed them. There was no script and all the dialogue was completely improvised. This does allow Stoic to maintain a naturalistic feel, however, it also means that the actors are beholden to tough guy clichs. The dialogue, particularly during the interrogation scenes, keeps falling back to a "you don't know what's it's like, man!" mantra. Here are some examples of bland dialogue that the actors came up with:

"What choice did I have?"
"You're either with them or against them."
"What don't you understand? If I didn't seem like I was apart of it, they'd kill me."
"I had no choice. They forced me."
"I want to lie because I don't want to be that person."
"I felt like there was no way out."

And because you knew it had to happen:
"I'm just as bad as the two of them because I didn't do anything to stop it."

You'll note that most of these dialogue examples belong to the Peter, the chattiest and most remorseful interviewee. Improvisation has its virtues but it can also lead to actors falling back on stuff they've seen in countless other genre examples, which means that the banal clich dialogue all gets stirred together one more time.

In defense of Stoic, it may prove to be Boll's finest directorial effort yet. The handheld camera, sharp edits, and close angles copy the Paul Greengrass (The Bourne Ultimatum, United 93) style of visuals, and yet the docu-drama copy works. The visual aesthetic improves the quality of the film and allows Boll many opportunities for interesting compositions and smart stylistic decisions with the economical space of the set. The interviews are shot as one static camera shot to contrast with the shaky, reactionary movement from within the cell. It may not be an original style, but then again Boll seems to adopt (some might say rip-off) a new style with every film. For Stoic, Boll's direction makes you feel in the middle of these awful incidents, and the pain feels even more real.

But is there any reason to really watch Stoic? The acting is mostly good, and maybe fans of Edward Furlong would like to see what he's been up to since 1998's Pecker and American History X. Perhaps the declaration of "Boll's best directorial effort" will appeal to maybe six or seven curious, and questionably masochistic, film fans. Due to Boll's German background, I can't help but wonder if his country's history influenced him to try a narrative experiment hat explores how easy it is to go along with something awful, how difficult it is to make a moral stand against the grain, and how easily circumstances can find momentum and get out of control. I wonder if Stoic is Boll's personal act of penance, of trying to understand a nation's actions (and inaction) and working through a lingering shroud of shame. Then again, I may be reading way more into this movie than was ever intended. It could have just been a lark for a quick buck/deutschmark. Stoic is a mildly interesting little filmic experiment from Boll. Due to its narrative simplicity and limited characterization, it can't offer much more than another voyeuristic slideshow of human degradation.

Nate's Grade: C
June 27, 2010
Yet another horrible movie from Uwe Boll.
½ June 14, 2010
This is the third Uwe Boll movie that I've seen and it's definitely the worst of them. Somehow, though, something tells me that he was made far worse movies than this.
½ June 13, 2010
Just some pointless prison drama that is just disgusting for the sake of being disgusting. Lets face it, uwe Boll doesn't belong anywhere. He can't even direct a decent art-house film. Take my advise, watch a better prision movie that features Edward Furlong. That movie is "Animal Factory".
June 7, 2010
que animal se vuelve la gente bajo la presion correcta!! aqui se narro lo acontecido en 2006 en la prision de Siegburg , donde 3 reos abusan de toda manera posible del desafortunado y 4 ocupante de la celda, aplicando un darwinismo torcido con brutalidad !

sorprende o no, esta dirigida por Uwe Boll tambien, ya van 2 que no son malas! :)

las actuaciones 2 2, sale Edward Furlong que no lo veia desde la de Pecker con John Waters!
June 6, 2010
"A Portrait of Brutality"

A disturbing and unsettling display of brutality and a showcase of the deepest and darkest depths of depravity. This film is a powerful experience that is haunting and sickening. The behavior being displayed in this film is some of the most vile and grotesque I have ever seen. This film is about three prisoners locked away for nonviolent crimes who decide to brutalize their cellmate in the most twisted ways imaginable after a heated game of poker takes a dark turn. Some of the acting in this film is fantastic because of how realistic these evil individuals are portrayed. The only well known name in this film is Edward Furlong, who is also the standout here. I have never even heard of or seen anyone else in this film before but they all deliver exceptional performances. I was pretty surprised by how good the acting was in this film. Of course, this film is looked down upon for being directed by Uwe Boll who is considered to be one of the worst directors of all time. Uwe has made some awful films, but with this film he proves that he does have some talent. Stoic is a fearless film, but not exactly something you'll want to watch more than once. It's simply a portrait of the most brutal behavior you can imagine and doesn't contain much complexity or originality. I think this film is important because it shows just how evil human nature can be, but I doubt I'll ever watch it again. A good film, but not a work of art.
½ June 4, 2010
"This doesn't qualify as a film. It simply is something you make for fun, or just to show how ignorant you are. What a cruel, and distasteful film. With bad acting and directing from, god help us, Uwe Boll."
May 31, 2010
we really like edward. this is an intense movie & not a favorite edward movie. we watched via netflix streaming & i'm not sure if the ending was complete over as it just ended...
½ May 22, 2010
One of the most unpleasant and abhorrent movies ever made, if not the most. I really don't know who could possibly enjoy this outside of aggressive sociopaths. It's "based on a true story" (which I think is Uwe's way of saying it is not based on a video game) about four inmates in a prison cell. It's kind of funny in hindsight: toothpaste is the movie's main stimulus. One of the inmates refuses to eat a tube of toothpaste so as to make good on a bet. Apparently, this brings out the monster in everybody else, because the next hour is that of amoral inhumanity which includes, but is not limited to, beatings, eating of vomit, rapings, and being micturated upon. I really wanted to turn this off, but I always see a movie through to the end before I pass judgment, and no, the movie never turns itself around, it keeps getting worse with no message or redeeming qualities to it. There really is nothing of substance here; you are just watching three men brutalize a victim for an hour. That's. It. The dialogue is almost all improv (so it doesn't have that written by Boll sound to it), and I would be surprised if there was a script written for it. It is so ugly and offensive on so many levels, I'm sure if this has a wider release, there would be activist groups petitioning against it. This is one of the worst movies I have ever seen, avoid at all costs.
May 14, 2010
Captivating and shocking. Don't watch trailer before watching movie it will make it better.
½ May 12, 2010
An excellent Jail Psychodrama based on true Events in a German Prison Uwe Boll finally found his Metier he always got a Hand for Humiliation and in this Case it is right on Place it shows realistic and grimm the Situation in a Jail with its Pecking Order, Peer Pressure and Survival of the Fitest what is the Thing to arrest Criminals and Outlaws did it help this People? Defently not it make all much worser this People got Problems that's true but ive the are entertained they are at least a Problem for the Society ive they are prisoned and bored they got Strange Ideas and got driven to much worser Things the Guy they torture remind me of a Guy i met in Prison he got arrested for Driving with the Train without a Ticket and get mocked in Jail by some Nazis who force them every Night to read them from a Book backwards, did not allow him to use Toilet Paper, force him to clean the Toilet with his Toothbrush and other Stuff this is harmless against the Things they done with the Guy in this Movie but thats a similiar Situation they arrest harmless Slackers together with Dangerous Lunatics whats the Point of this? This System is one of the Violents many People talk bad about Anarchy but i say in Anarchy the People are free there is Brutality too but there is no useless forced Brutality like in Democracy when they arrest the People and let them torture them one another and another Thing is clear Uwe Boll is a Sicko he real enjoy Debasements like in this Movie
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