Reviews

The Stoker

3

A Russian black comedy that won’t thaw out

As icy as Park Chan-Wook’s Stoker was tempestuous, this Russian black comedy won’t thaw out; no matter how many corpses the titular boilerman – elderly war hero turned gangland stooge (Mikhail Skryabin) – feeds into his furnace.

Director Aleksey Balabanov makes strong use of Skryabin’s deadpan features and paints a portrait of modern Russia as an honourless wild East, with the spiralling violence measured against the stoker’s old-school stoicism.

Be warned, though: patience will be tested by the most intrusively jaunty score in history.

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