Stok­ing the fire of Mia’s ris­ing star

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - MOVIES -

Stoker

STOKER ce­ments the idea that Aussie star Mia Wasikowska is turn­ing out to be one of our coun­try’s most ac­com­plished young ac­tresses. The Can­berra-born for­mer ballet dancer has been in block­busters (Tim Bur­ton’s Alice in Won­der­land), indies ( The Kids Are All Right) and adap­ta­tions ( Jane Eyre), played a can­cer pa­tient ( Rest­less), and ap­peared in pe­riod pieces cre­ated by both in­ter­na­tional and Aus­tralian film­mak­ers ( Al­bert Nobbs and Law­less). Now with Stoker, the 23-year-old has added an­other notch to her belt, star­ring in ac­claimed Korean di­rec­tor Park Chan-wook’s first English­language film. Penned orig­i­nally by Prison Break’s Went­worth Miller, the dark psy­cho­log­i­cal thriller also stars sea­soned Aussie ac­tors Ni­cole Kid­man and Jacki Weaver. But it’s Wasikowska as Kid­man’s unso­cia­ble on­screen daugh­ter In­dia, and her per­for­mance along­side a truly creepy Matthew Goode as her mys­te­ri­ous un­cle Char­lie, that re­ally gets un­der your skin and makes it crawl. That, as well as Park’s unique eye and his de­tailed use of sound and gor­geous im­agery make Stoker an ab­sorb­ing thriller – one that ter­ri­fies and fas­ci­nates, ad­dress­ing the na­ture vs nur­ture de­bate from a shel­tered teenager’s per­spec­tive. The slow pace may irk some, but for oth­ers, it will just keep you yearn­ing for what hap­pens next, af­ter In­dia’s fa­ther sud­denly dies and her un­cle comes to stay with her and her des­per­ate-for-at­ten­tion, flaky mother Eve­lyn (Kid­man). Even if you think you know where the film is head­ing, you’re never quite cer­tain if it will throw you a curve­ball. None of the char­ac­ters are par­tic­u­larly like­able, save for a brief ap­pear­ance by In­dia’s aunt Gwen­dolyn, played by Weaver. But you tend to be torn in your feel­ings for them, thanks to lay­ered per­for­mances, and they’re no doubt as in­trigu­ing as they are un­set­tling. It’s also par­tic­u­larly nice to see three gen­er­a­tions of ac­com­plished Aus­tralian ac­tresses on the screen to­gether. Re­gard­less if you’re a fan of Park’s pre­vi­ous work on Korean films like Oldboy, Stoker is a slow-burn, chill­ing tale that will haunt you for days.

Stoker opens to­day.

– CARIS BIZZACA

Mia Wasikowska is a stand­out in the psy­cho­log­i­cal thriller

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