Directed by Chan-wook Park
Screening at from 8th March 2013
Distraught Evelyn (Nicole Kidman) is in a period of mourning after a
car accident has left her dead husband's head a staved-in bloody mess.
Her daughter India (Mia Wasikowska) has internalised the traumatic event
to the extent that communication with the outside world is forced and
Into the strained family household enters what increasingly drives the
action on its exponentially psychotic path - the long lost, globetrotting
uncle Charlie (Matthew Goode). His arrival is greeted with utter dismay
by the old housekeeper and a visiting elderly aunt. Their concerns are
well founded - both will have a long time to wait to be remembered again
- in the interestingly downward scrolling credits.
India loved her father, spending long periods away with him on hunting
trips and has finetuned her visual acuity and listening skills in the
long hours of waiting for something to move. Now it is Charlie who moves
malevolently across the screen making a play for his brother's wife whilst
trying to maintain more than eye contact with India.
Having ascertained that Charlie's cupboard is not short off skeletons
India herself becomes the target of some high school jocks, who fancy
their chances as rumours are leaking about the new arrival's proclivities
with her increasingly deranged mother. She can hold her own and after
discovering the pair in flagrante delicto runs off to a liaison of her
own at the local hop. She eggs on an amour who is rewarded by Charlie
turning up and breaking his neck, the excitement of which bringing orgasmic
transcendence for India.
The spark that is kindled between her and Charlie bursts into life at
the piano and the hapless Evelyn is consigned to a life on soporifics,
before she too becomes a problem that must be rationalised. The local
police are investigating the increasing tally of disappearances but their
enquiries are kept at bay. India meanwhile has learnt the truth about
Charlie and he imparts what really happened to her father and why it had
to be done.
The ending is novel if not unexpected. This family has problems and something
more than macho madness is passed on in the genes. There are allusions
to Hitchcock, King and Tarantino and the Korean director's first attempt
at a film in English is characteristically brutal enough, justifying the
18 certificate. Perhaps most of all, the inspired sounds of Philip Glass
piano music catches the manic mood most in this disturbing addition to
a genre well used to titillating the nervous system. The leads carry it
of with aplomb.