'Stoker' simultaneously shows how to build up an impending sense of danger with ease and then cut it down with a typical bland reveal. We all know clichés aren't bad. It's the execution that makes it bad, so when the curtain reveals what's happening its limp and met with a quiet sigh. It's one of those situations where the mystery is one of the usual hits a film like this goes with.
Surprisingly more so how limp is, is that this is the man who created 'Oldboy' that majestically held the real outcome to very end - it didn't given anything away. While 'Stoker' doesn't really give anything either - it has a lazy explanation (even if the scene that actual shows the reason is chilling and well shot).
'Stoker' starts with the death of India's (Mia Wasikowska) father due to a car accident. At the family house she is introduced to her uncle 'Charles' (Matthew Goode' and he stays with 'India' and her distant mother 'Evelyn' (Nicole Kidman). 'India' tries to keep her distance from her charming yet slightly off uncle. It does an excellent job at first of building an uneasy relationship with the two as well as her meek, emotionally unstable mother (who clearly has little interest in her own daughter).
I felt like there was an air of supernatural going on, naturally this is my own reasoning so when it doesn't I did feel a little disappointed. there is that feeling throughout it, even when it's 100% clear there is something wrong with 'Charlie'. Part of mystery building is the emptiness of the house and of course Park Chan-wook's camera work and uses sound to show sort of parity between 'India' and 'Charlie'. The use of space and silence is another aspect that 'Park' is no stranger to and it's probably the film that has the most of it.
Unfortunately the film loses the tension and mystery it builds with the weak reasoning in a rather typical and bland manner. It loses all sense of its identity and becomes something I wouldn't expect of 'Park'. The performances are excellent (which they are Goode in particularly is fantastic - having a perfect mix of charm and perverted.). But even they can't prevent it's final 30 minutes.
'Stoker' is a minor blip in Park's filmography, it's still decent film with his usual panache and beautiful shots but it ultimately falls short of his other films. There are brilliant performances throughout - Goode, Kidman and Wasikowska work like a metronome together. This film needed a strong reveal, the slow trickle of the mystery and 'Charles' interest in 'India' set it all up. But it hits with a light breeze and all that good will is reduced to a disappointing wimpier.