So 2013 has been a great year for films, with releases from new directors and veterans the choice in cinemas has been great. This list is purely personal, based on my own critical opinions and personal enjoyment, and designed to inform and maybe inspire a few more viewings or purchases for some of my favourite films of this year so far . . .
To read the full review of any of the films in this list just click on the title.
Chan-Wook Park’s first English speaking movie comes to DVD today, and if your going to rent or buy anything I would suggest you get your hands on a copy of Stoker it’s one of my favourite films this year.
This dark coming of age story is one of the best films so far this year, with fantastic attention to detail and beautiful cinematography it’s well worth seeing.
Thinking of buying or renting Stoker? Read my full review here.
Chan-Wook Park’s first English speaking film is a triumph. Stoker is visually captivating, beautifully styled and totally engaging. In its essence it is a particularly dark coming of age story, but it becomes so much more in the hands of Park. The relatively short film is transformed by a brilliant director into a whirlwind of youth, corruption and violence. He takes the audience on a journey that sees India Stoker’s (Mia Wasikowska) happy life halted by the death of her father and the appearance of an uncle she never knew she had.
The styling creates a timeless feel to the story; it is not grounded in the present day (although one mention of dates sets it in 2012). This creates a kind of fairy tale feel to some of the earlier sequences, something which contrasts nicely with the dark turn the film takes as India’s loss of innocence is manipulated by her uncle Charlie (Matthew Goode)
Wasikowska shows herself to be a fantastically versatile actor, she inhabits the character perfectly balancing child-like innocence with a teenager’s ability to manipulate and adapt; incorporating a dark undercurrent that reveals itself with the ebb and flow of the story.
Goode and Wasikowska play off each other perfectly to create an uncomfortable sexual tension as the plot progresses. The theme of sex runs through out; Evelyn Stoker’s (Nicole Kidman) attraction to Charlie and Charlie’s quiet power over everyone he comes in contact with. To say too much on the characters’ different motivations would be to ruin the plot, but each and every performance is brilliantly intense and captivating to watch.
The innovative visuals mark this film out; the attention played to every shot is incredible. The way the camera moves to incorporate a moving belt, conversations playing out over many rooms; the shot that’s just uncomfortably close on a smile. It’s a beautiful thing to watch and really conveys the intensity of the story. That intensity is what really makes the film special, an hour and a half film becomes an epic as you are immersed in the twisted lives of the characters and the beauty of what your watching. Stoker is virtually flawless, and that’s not something to be said lightly.
Out now in UK cinemas.
Click here to watch the trailer.