Park borrows, returns, and alters classic genre tropes to tantalize and provoke viewers, however I'm uncertain his ends ever form a complete picture. To his credit, the more I sit on it, I'm not sure they were meant to. Train tracks serve as a vintage euphemism for the criss-crossing of a confused identity, as well as the burgeoning eroticism experienced by at least one of the three leads. Characters exist in sexual claustrophobia and search for a key to unlock it, which, as the film unfolds, viewers learn can take many fucked-up forms. They just want to get off.
The usual suspects are mostly worth investigating, and while the screenplay succesfully serves as a vehicle for Park using it's thin narrative for fetishizing gothic cinema, I can't help but think it never should've tried to break out of prison (I had to). Had the screenplay been fleshed out and written by more capable hands, Stoker would've been in my top five of the year. As it stands, it'll likely gain status on my end of the year list, but only because of the unapologetically twisted-- and brave-- nature of the filmmaking and performances on display, though it occasionally feels a little silly or contrived simply because of how thin it is.
The worst thing I can say about Stoker is that had I seen it in high school, I would've fallen in love. Luckily, Park and his fantastic cast elevates it into a delicious experience likely to stand as one of the most memorable this year, even if not the best. Because the film itself is so fractured and disjointed, this review probably ended up just as so. I wish it got better reviews, it deserved a lot more.