Film4: PREMIERE Friday 30 October, 9pm
Devastated by the death of her father on her 18th birthday, Mia Wasikowska is taken aback at the funeral to meet Matthew Goode, an uncle she never knew she had. The English-language debut of Oldboy director Park Chan-wook was supposedly inspired by Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt.
But there are few points of comparison beyond a shady character ostentatiously referred to as Uncle Charlie. “We don’t need to be friends,” says Mia’s India. “We’re family.” Unfortunately for her, this is true. Discounting The Trouble with Harry (which was a comedy), Hitch would never had made a thriller this pretty.
It would have offended his sense of the macabre. Despite the gothic title, Stoker is florid, like James Dearden’s Hitchcock tribute, A Kiss Before Dying. It’s all elegantly filmed, of course – studiedly so, and with a disconcerting lyricism. But even Hitch was never this hung up on sublimated sex, visual ellipses and fetishistic close-ups. It ravishes the eye while neutralising the brain. Perhaps it’s a parody. Nicole Kidman’s alabaster performance certainly qualifies.