Nicole Kidman teases her searing nature in the Stoker trailer and she is just one of many reasons to race to the theater to see this intense boiler of a drama. It is gorgeous. Korean director Chan-wook Park barely speaks a word of English, yet has managed to convey his vision to not only his crew, but his actors who all rise to an uncanny level to meet Park's hallowed cinematic ground.
Kidman is Evelyn, a matriarch to the Stoker family and as the film begins, we meet them on the darkest of days. Mia Wasikowska is her daughter India and the two of them are dressed in black. They have just lost a husband and father in a tragic accident. Matthew Goode (Watchmen) is the deceased's brother, Charles Stoker, who has arrived to console and proceeds to do anything but that over the course of the film.
Each Stoker woman is drawn to Charles for different reasons. Couple that with the fact they are both grappling with grief and handling it in the most unusual and extreme of ways. The Stoker family has wealth and privilege, but Stoker is not simply a tale of the idle rich and their dangerous passions.
Wasikowska is a force of nature. She has been that way since we first became aware of her on In Treatment. She can be both Alice in Wonderland and the darkest of conflicted characters, such as Jane Eyre. And now in Stoker... the Brit is something truly special and to watch her weave her web in her latest is the highest of brilliance.
And Kidman has a role with Evie that is so in her wheelhouse that there is a seismic emotional response to what she does onscreen from the audience. She is fresh off her stellar 2012 turns in The Paperboy and HBO's Hemingway and Gellhorn. Her character's maternal instincts are buried beneath layers of emotional turmoil that are also astounding in how it reflects off of Wasikowska. There are acting clinics and there is what is put on by the cast of Stoker.
Then, there's Goode. Not to paraphrase his name, but he is so good. There is an irrelevant viciousness to his performance as the man who seeks to be the family's new patriarch.The way he slithers into every scene and slyly makes his mark is pitch perfect. His chemistry with Wasikowska and Kidman is unique with each, leading audiences to not quite figure out his true motives until we're deep into the story.
Stoker is an explosive mix of a group of actors who capture lightning in a bottle simultaneously. Just look at them in this Stoker poster and you can feel to your bones the tension in this familial trio.