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Wick's Review

Created Oct 17, 2010 12:24PM PST • Edited Mar 25, 2018 07:44PM PST

  1. Quality
  2. Very Good 3.5

    De Niro and Norton’s moviestar masterclass combined with austerely beautiful filmmaking elevates a formulaic story that trades heavily in caricature. Often darkly funny, occasionally LOL so, Stone surmounts its insufficient title by proving itself an involving experience.

  3. Great 4.0

    Edward Norton doesn’t look like a movie star, lacking the right profile and bone structure. Good thing he can act, here a white-chocolate Detroit hood. Think Eminem in the joint. His demented riffs are often downright funny, bespeaking an actor atop his game. He’s so good he deserves to be known simply by his last name, as his legendary co-star long has been.

    Robert De Niro specializes in flawed authority figures nowadays, here a prison parole officer with a heart of darkness. Part of the movie’s fun is seeing him face off with Norton’s virile sociopath, the sort of character De Niro himself played in Cape Fear and so many other movies.

    Mila Jovovich throws body and soul into the girlish wife who willingly seduces De Niro’s PO to help spring her husband. Notwithstanding her pulchritude (winsome smile; nipples like plump strawberries) and extremely competent acting, she doesn’t rise to the level of greatness, which is to say it’s easy to imagine others playing the part.

    Frances Conroy falls into the same elevated competence category playing De Niro’s emotionally battered wife.

  4. Male Stars Really Great 4.5

    Norton perfect, De Niro great

  5. Female Stars Very Good 3.5
  6. Female Costars Great 4.0
  7. Male Costars Very Good 3.5
  8. Very Good 3.5

    John Curran’s beautiful and effective film benefits immensely from Maryse Alberti’s subtly perfect cinematography. If only Angus MacLachlan’s screenplay was more than a set of cliches.

  9. Direction Great 4.0

    John Curran becomes a director to watch given the elegance and desolate beauty he imparts to Stone. Upcoming from him next year: Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald biopic The Beautiful and the Damned, with beautiful Keira Knightley as Zelda. Damn, that should be good.

  10. Play OK 2.5

    Notwithstanding the screenplay’s manifold flaws, the character of Stone is extremely well drawn. He reveals himself early on as criminally narcistic: every interaction quicksilver judged for a winner and a loser, consequences and empathy ignored.

  11. Music Good 3.0
  12. Visuals Perfect 5.0

    Closely observed scenes of everyday beauty: wind rustling even crop rows, oceans of fog blanketing the morning landscape surrounding the prison. Maryse Alberti confirms her late career breakout into the big time. After two decades of shooting shorts and documentaries, she ends up cinematographer of The Wrestler in ’08 and of this perfectly shot film two years later. Way to peak late.

  13. Content
  14. Sordid 3.3

    Gleefully sordid, with lascivious seductions and laughably nasty language. OTOH, brief peeks into long ago heinous acts by De Niro’s parole officer and Norton’s sociopath are truly revolting.

  15. Sex Erotic 3.5
  16. Violence Fierce 2.0
  17. Rudeness Nasty 4.5
  18. Glib 1.2

    Everyone is morally fallen: sociopaths and Christians alike. Yadda, yadda, yadda, this garden variety Left Wing Hollywood caricature is downright musty. Doesn’t anyone in Tinseltown have any new ideas?

  19. Circumstantial Glib 1.7
  20. Biological Natural 1.0
  21. Physical Natural 1.0


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