Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Clip From 'Stoker': Virtuosity, Though Not So You'd Notice

'Stoker' is shaping up to be a cinematic experience. One of those movies you can study in small bits or even freeze-frame.

Clip is very well cut, made from highly crafted parts. I notice the tail end of a steady-cam shot at the very beginning which would indicate a switch from casual observation to the more dialed-in stillness of having the camera on sticks, a bit too close to its subject.

I especially like the sound -- cool, with fine grit. Silence is heavy at first -- almost uncomfortable -- then it's cut down the middle by the glass sliding across the table. You don't know which you prefer less, the sound or lack of it.

While Matthew Goode does a fine job with his odd uncle character, it's Mia Wasikowska who carries the scene. What an emotional shift her character has, and all within a few seconds. Off the top of my head, from recent movies, I can't remember such an engrossing, quick display.

Very confident and capable writing by Wentworth Miller and Erin Cressida Wilson. Overtly, not much happens however, to be sure, a lot is going on under the surface. Most scripts don't offer such subtlety, most writers don't bother.

Director Chan-wook Park's virtuosity is on display, though not so you'd notice. He doesn't toss technique around for its own sake. His camera work enhances character without bringing attention to itself. He makes it look so easy, but a lesser director would be at a loss as to how to turn this particular page of screenplay into a such an elegant snippet.

This has novelistic depth that demands a lot of actors and, clearly, they rise to the occasion. While that may sound like a dusty exercise -- theater captured on film, perhaps -- polished yet breezy lensing brings 'Stoker' to life and makes it a pleasure to consume.


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