SYNOPSIS: Academy Award® winner Robert De Niro and Oscar® nominee Edward Norton deliver powerful
performances as a seasoned corrections official and a scheming inmate whose lives become dangerously
intertwined in Stone, a thought-provoking drama directed by John Curran (The Painted Veil, We Don’t Live
Here Anymore) and written by Angus McLachlan (Junebug).
REVIEW: Robert De Niro, Edward Norton, and Milla Jovovich all together in a dramatic “get out of jail”, “mischievous seduction”, and “tormented by wanting to do the right thing” story sounds like a great movie, right? Not so fast my fellow movie buffs. I just simply assumed that this movie was going to be good by default based on the facts mentioned above. Well we know what happens when we assume. I was surprised by this presentation, but not in a good way. It was eerie, mysterious, bizarre, sexy, and profound but overall I found it to be pointless. Maybe I missed something, or maybe I was half asleep while I was watching it, but I did not get much out of this movie. There are way too many unanswered questions. I understand that some movie makers like to make the audience think a little and reach their own conclusions about certain aspects of a film, but when there are too many of those questions then the story has too many holes and you are left with emptiness. It is obvious that the movie tries to make several points but because of the lack of story and character development you have no idea what to conclude. A lot of emphasis is placed on religion throughout the movie but it is not clear as to why. Could it be that both Jack (De Niro) and Stone (Norton) are struggling between right and wrong? Could it be that Jack is only pretending to be religious when he really doesn’t believe in anything? What’s up with Jack and his wife Madylyn (Frances Conroy)? Talk about a strange relationship. Madylyn is probably the spookiest character of them all. And what about Lucetta (Jovovich)? Is she just a slut or does she have a hidden agenda? What is driving these people and what is their motivation? It is too unclear to the point of frustration.
What saves this film is the incredible performances given by these four actors. The top spot goes to Edward. He does an impressive job with this too big for his own bridges, delinquent, hoodlum, modern day gangster character. I’ve always thought that Milla was an underrated actress and this movie is proof positive that she is quite capable. Robert is Robert and his presence alone is inspiring. And as I mentioned before, Frances is freaky with her role. With her soft voice and blank stare, she is down right scary. But the movie focuses mostly on Jack and the power he has to have an inmate stay or go as an officer who helps determine parole eligibility. Just trying to get by his last few days before he retires, bam, all hell breaks loose. I thought I might be able to compare this film to something like a Fatal Attraction or Basic Instinct, but not even. Director John Curran did a good job of making this not your typical love triangle conflict slash individual conflict, full of mystery and intrigue but there is just not enough background to resort to when an ambiguity arises and this movie has a lot of ambiguity.
By Cine Marcos
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