Why Did “Stoker” Successfully Conquer the Public

South Korean directors impressed the globe and produce a new kind of cinema together with American creators. They technically mastered the convenient model of the plot. It outreached with a modern style of shooting. Literary, it refreshed you after a while watching. Bright colors and a well-balanced variety of episodes engage your inner aesthete. So, one of the possible tools to learn - make the accents equal for each aspect, including the plot, technicians, the general picture and last, but not least, be brave to put on the experiments with technicians the overall view and the action.

Stoker – a thriller about one wealthy family in the USA

Once you started to watch the film of Chan-wook Park, a South Korean director, you will probably find out yourself with the thought that the very beginning evocates with David Lynch’s author style. By far, the whole ambiance of the film reminds the similar tones of Twin Peaks. I mean, without looking for similar characters, the plot turns or dénouement. It only provides you with the atmosphere of the melancholy, haze of consciousness and the key events complete it right. Although the screenplay writer Wentworth Miller inspired by `Shadow of a doubt` (Alfred Hitchcock), it left you the gap for personal associations. So, let me introduce you to the story.


The Stoker’s estate placed far beyond the town. The story began with the death of father Richard Stoker (Dermot Mulroney) and the appearance of a mysterious uncle Charles, played by Matthew Goode. Richard’s daughter India (Mia Wasikowska) and his widow Evelyn (Nicole Kidman) shocked by father death, reside the tragedy in the personal way, as everyone has its feelings. Talking about India, she has an inner connection with her father, as we could see, tougher than with mother one. Since she was a child, every birthday father hides a small present pack with a pair of shoes, as a symbolic relation with him. Upcoming birthday turns into a horrific party: Dad car crashed in the accident, India got an empty box with a small key on the bottom.

Matthew Goode / Photo: Shutterstock - Featureflash Photo Agency
Matthew Goode / Photo: Shutterstock – Featureflash Photo Agency

The key – a secret way to find the truth about uncle Charles, but yet he is just a handsome man who charmed everyone. For mother, Evelyn, uncle Charles was a kind of medicine to overcome the sorrow. Between them, the romantic connection skipped and Evelyn, full of passion, at the same time become dependent on him. Later, she got on the contrary with a daughter. But India was Charles’s goal. He was willing to take over her personality. Lover abuser, Charles used all the possible ways to become the only man in India’s life. And in this aspect, he still competes with her dead father. Subsequently, the plot revealed a mental disease of uncle Charles and his life was just a desire fantasy, the illusion Charles used to believe. Moreover, he used to think India the highest love, and he is the only man to be.

Since he was a child, the love from elder significant relatives – parents, brothers – seemed an unacceptable thing, something he has to deserve. Thus, he killed the youngest brother, burying him in the sand, though it was the easiest way. But the loving pursuit was a slide of mental disorder, as we knew later. Being all this time in the Psychiatric department, he wrote letters to India, in which a specific theme dedicates to the great love of his. Richard predicts the threatens and decided to isolate Charles of other Stokers. Richard died, Charles arose the power. The seduction of Evelyn and full India gaining were the places under the Sun, that usually leaves Charles in the shade.


Nicole Kidman, Mia Wasikowska, and Matthew Goode in the love intrigues

Nicole Kidman / Photo: Shutterstock - Kathy Hutchins
Nicole Kidman / Photo: Shutterstock – Kathy Hutchins

So, what is the secret of successful products on the American market? First, the actors. The well-cast crew, who also has experience in thriller stories. Mia Wasikowska, we are familiar with her from the role of Alice in the Wonderland or protagonist Edith Cushing in Crimson Peak. Nicole Kidman, in the majority of her roles, was involved in intrigues. By the way, do you remember her as a comedian or romantic character?

Mia Wasikowska / Photo: Shutterstock - Andrea Raffin
Mia Wasikowska / Photo: Shutterstock – Andrea Raffin

Last but not least Mr. Miller played one of the Schofield brothers in the Prison Brake series. The concrete detail you can observe, the pathological connection between uncle and niece remained similar to his and onscreen mother in the series. They both were struggling with a psychotic disorder, so Wentworth Miller was familiar with the character to be described. Talking about `Stoker` we could predict that passion around the bloody killing was a volcanic power outside the girl liberation. She continued to kill because she has a pathology. But the plot, when the child goes on with the parental diagnosis not unique. At least, you could also follow the line in `Mr.Brooks`, where the man of the year was genuine in the daylight and manic at night. His daughter was also a potential maniac. She was even stronger watching her victim bleeding. India the same, she started to get excited while victims were dying hard. Finally, she killed Charles, what was a brave turn in the plot, and makes it unique among others.


Another sexuality in Chan-wook Park perspective

The second thing – get the ordinary details with iconic doubled determination. The film is full of psychological episodes of India’s growth of personality. From her pathological grow to sexual liberation. So we could pretend the present key was not only the justice about Charles but the opener to the hidden stages of India conscious. She never knew her dark side while Charles helps her to know. And she found the secret shelf in father parlor in the time to be the readiest to get it. Rejection, her initial reaction – only the resistance force to that embarrassing thing that happened to her.

But in a gut, she was accustomed to the feeling of perversion. I mean onscreen perversion when uncle feels the attraction to niece. They already have a connection. It was not necessary to be sexual, more spiritual in a subtle context. Chan-wook Park masterpiece transformed the physical to the tender, abstractive merger while playing the piano or when Charles was trying the heels to India’s legs. Valuable instrument and manipulation that forced to reflect, that force to experience the intimacy of the moment not only with the events on the screen but with the character state. Back to the plot, for Charles, it was the way how he awakes the female power inside India. Even more, to force her struggling with that and think constant about him. Charles – the genial manipulator, got hooked, not foreseeing that the power of India was many times tougher than him. And all the passion that arose between them grew into a confrontation.


Why `Stoker` is better than `The Handmaiden`: the battle of contemporary

One of the brightest things that complete the general idea – the technician and attention to the details. And mostly it became the distinguishing sign of Chan-wook Park, what fixed after him the name of the aesthetic director. Express views, based on the real perspectives, which rarely used by directors, awake us during the timeline of the film. `Stoker` – not the only famous onscreen for the last time. Another one, ` The Handmaiden`, also took the stars and awards since its release. Also, stylish pictures, erotic context,s, and triangles made an intriguing plot. But `Stoker` filled with invisible tender lines, that make it not frank, but elegant and bloody at the same time.

`Stoker` – more anew thriller presentation than a desire to play in vicious games. However, Chan-wook Park is so skilled that each of his films could become a masterpiece no matter what genre he did. And later we will back to his film stock to see another edge of a unique director.

Photos: Shutterstock / Photomontage: Martina Advaney

More reviews from the author:

South Korean Cinema – All You Need to Know

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