Action / Drama / Thriller


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March 28, 2012 at 01:09 PM



Milla Jovovich as Lucetta
Edward Norton as Stone
Frances Conroy as Madylyn
701.18 MB
23.976 fps
1hr 45 min
P/S 5 / 14

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by stefgrig 4 / 10

Someone dropped the ball....

De Niro , Norton and Jovovich . Quite the cast I'd say , but thats all there is to it .

The start is really interesting , both De Niro and Norton giving top notch performances . But then everything is lost as the movie looses focus and struggles to define itself . What starts of as a thriller goes nowhere trying to answer existential questions . No character is developed enough , the background stories clumsy and incomplete and thats in my opinion what killed this movie . No cohesion and a weak ending is the coup de grace .

Edward Norton is one of my favorite actors , so is De Niro . Im so disappointed that this didn't work out .

Reviewed by David Ferguson ([email protected]) 6 / 10

A Vegetarian Tuning Fork

Greetings again from the darkness. Psychological Thrillers have long been my favorite genre of film. The best ones cause us to examine our own thoughts while analyzing the actions of others we probably don't quite understand. Unfortunately, most scripts fall short in complexity and stimulation, and leave us with a half-empty character study. Director John Curran (The Painted Veil) and writer Angus MacLachlan (the superb Junebug) offer up a just-miss.

Robert DeNiro plays a parole officer on the brink of retirement. He is the guy that lives and works by the book to suppress his inner demons of which we get a glimpse in the film's opening. Despite the horror, he and his wife stay married for decades ... the relationship is built on a false worship of scripture and plenty of nerve-deadening booze. DeNiro decides to finish out his current files, one of which belongs to Edward Norton. He is an 8 year convict, serving a sentence for a crime that ended with the death of his grandparents.

The real fun begins when Norton enlists his schoolteacher wife, played by Milla Jovovich, to invade DeNiro's cold facade. So really what we have is: DeNiro trying not to feel anything, Norton trying to pull one over on DeNiro either by himself or with his wife, and Jovovich trying desperately to obey her husband while playing evil mind and body games with DeNiro. This is the point I like to call "the table is set".

Unfortunately, none of these story lines really go deep. The best seems to be Jovovich and DeNiro, but even that falls short of real grit. So much potential here and the actors all seem up for anything. It's just the script lets them off easy.

Frances Conroy is excellent as DeNiro's wife whose had her soul locked away. We never really get the full scoop on the Norton/Jovovich connection, but by the end, that doesn't seem to matter. Is the film watchable? Yes. Could it have offered more deliciously evil interaction between these characters? Absolutely.

Reviewed by SaMoFilmGuy 4 / 10

Disappointing, genre-confused story

Filmmaking 101 has a rule; wait, Art 101 has a rule: Know your genre. A drama can have comic relief, but that works only in the framework of the genre that's been established. Comedies can have their dramatic, emotional moments, but if they then turn into dramas, audiences are confused and disappointed. If a screenwriter and director can't even tell their story competently within the confines of the genre they first set up, their movie will fail.

Yes, Stone is well acted. So what? Do you go to the movies to see good acting class exercises? If so, check this movie out. Norton and De Niro are entertaining, early on at least, and there's sharp dialog they have to work with (how else could they do their jobs? Don't you love people who praise the acting without acknowledging the script?)

But the story – the real reason most of us venture out to see a film – in Stoner is a mess. The movie starts off essentially as a thriller. The plot sets up a con working a con, with his sexy wife, on a prison case officer. But after putting the movie is thriller mode the movie then tries to be a drama about the meaning of life and presence of God. The movie tries to turn its main plot with the wife into a subplot, and then pretend that fun, salacious venture wasn't really what the movie wanted to deal with. No, let's talk about the meaning of life.

Stone, then, is a disappointment. Even as a drama it fails: the story dissipates into ambiguity with regard to the final action. POVs have jumped around all throughout the movie but in not showing us the final resolution between Stone and his wife, the whole fulcrum of the movie is left blank. As for the transformation of Stone – something Norton tries to act by occasionally calming his voice and widening his eyes – it's unbelievable, not fully formed or demonstrated and, like the rest of the movie, a pretentious attempt to take a fun dime-store novel's story and make it profound.

Don't waste your time or money with this one. If you have to see it, wait for video. The movie is shot in TV-like close-ups for the most part and it will play just as well there.

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