Park Chan-Wook has been cultivating a name for himself over the course of thirteen years as a distinct creative mind, one who often pairs visceral violence with lush and unforgettable imagery. Though perhaps not yet a “visionary,” the go-to buzzword for studios looking to generate some auteurial mystique around a promising director, he’s looking to popularize his brand of glossy mania with English-speaking audiences through his new film Stoker. Some of those shots – the frozen face, the spider inching up a sock, Nicole Kidman’s intense close-up – already show considerable promise.
You most likely know Chan-Wook by 2003’s Oldboy, which is a good solid slice of Asian shock cinema. But have you caught companion films Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance or Lady Vengeance yet? Thirst? I’m a Cyborg, But That’s OK? All of these films are unified by their unconventional structures, pinpoint cinematography, and storylines almost too ridiculous to be believed. (Almost!) Stoker is only in seven theaters right now; consider this a chance to brush up on the work of a legitimately original voice before it expands to a theater in your area.
Drew Byrd-Smith – drewbyrd.blogspot.com