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Film Review: 'Stoker'

March 14, 2013 12:45 p.m.

KPBS film critic Beth Accomando reviews Park Chan Wook's first American film, "Stoker."

Related Story: Interview: Park Chan-Wook


This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

ANCHOR INTRO: South Korean director Park Chan Wook makes his American debut with “Stoker.” KPBS arts reporter Beth Accomando spoke with the director about his new film that opens this weekend.

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The name “Stoker” may conjure up images of Bram and Dracula but in Park Chan Wook’s film, it refers to a rich American family where blood – both in terms of lineage and gore -- plays a pivotal role. The trailer opens with this line from a mother to her teenage daughter.

NICOLE KIDMAN: Personally, I can’t wait to see life tear you apart.

The line is both a clever misdirection and a wickedly accurate assessment of the film’s tone. For his first English language film, Park chose a script with minimal dialogue because he wanted a story told primarily through images. Speaking through a translator, Park says the film’s cross cutting and aggressively non-linear structure is vital for defining the characters.

PARK CHAN WOOK: Between the characters, their past and present, their reality and their fantasy, all these links, he wants to say are not separate but all merging together.

And no one can escape their past or avoid their fate. Park has been criticized for emphasizing style over story. But for him, style is story. The chilly elegance of the visuals, the unsettling emphasis on sound, the intoxicating connections you make when images collide – all this creates a riveting and twisted tale of a girl’s coming of age.

Beth Accomando, KPBS News.