Mia Wasikowska 'brilliant' in Gothic family thriller Stoker

Mar 1, 2013

Old Boy director's English-language debut co-starring Nicole Kidman is 'splendidly demented'

What you need to know
The psychological thriller Stoker is released in UK cinemas today. The film is written by Prison Break writer Wentworth Miller and directed by Korean filmmaker Park Chan-wook, best known for his revenge thriller, Old Boy. It is also the last movie produced by Tony Scott, who died during production.

It tells the story of India Stoker, a girl who lives with her emotionally unstable mother, Evelyn, after the death of her father. When her enigmatic Uncle Charlie moves in with them, India and Evelyn are both drawn to him, but suspicions arise about his motives.

Australian Mia Wasikowska stars as India Stoker. Nicole Kidman plays her mother Evelyn and Matthew Goode (A Single Man) appears as Uncle Charlie.

What the critics like
Chan-wook's long-awaited English-language debut is "a gorgeously mounted family mystery dressed up as a gothic fairytale", says Jeremy Kay in The Guardian. The movie is a "puzzle", with lush visuals, an eerily dynamic score, and a "suffocatingly effective" atmosphere.

"An intense mix of horror, thriller and domestic drama, this is exquisite filmmaking," says Olly Richards in Empire. Wasikowska, Kidman and Goode are "faultless". These are "performances that should be nominated for awards".

It's "a splendidly demented gumbo of Hitchcock thriller" and American Gothic fairy tale with a "contemporary kink", says Guy Lodge in Variety. Led by "a brilliant Mia Wasikowska" this macabre family mystery is a film "to be treasured".

What they don't like
The story is so "mired in cliché" that Park's interesting visual touches become redundant, says Tom Huddleston in Time Out. The result is "a drab, mannered horror-melodrama".

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