Friday, July 8, 2011

Quacking BetaMax: Stone

Not sure about everyone else, but I don't recall much buzz over this film last year. With a cast that includes Edward Norton, Milla Jovovich and Robert De Niro one would think that a lot more attention would have been given to this film. "Stone" is an indie film with big name actors that founds its way to limited theaters at the same time that "the Social Network" was dominating the box office. Ultimately there wasn't a lot of room for any other films.

The story follows Jack Mabry (Robert De Niro) who is only a few weeks away from retirement as a parole officer and wishes to finish out the cases he's been assigned. Jack doesn't treat his wife of 43 years well and prefers to look for answers in a bottle of whiskey. He watches golf on TV or listens to the religious radio to the point that his wife is unable to communicate with him. The final parole case for Jack is that of Gerald "Stone" Creeson (Edward Norton), a convicted arsonist who is up for parole. Stone arranges for his wife Lucetta (Milla Jovovich) to seduce the officer, but motives and intentions become complicated.

The writing and character development for Jack Mabry is lacking by starting off with a flashback of the relationship with his wife and follows him in a series of what seem to be uncharacteristic decisions. He has guilt about something he did in the past, but that isn't properly explained and leaves the viewer wondering if this is a character we should be concerned with at all. The director tries to be artsy by showing a buzzing bee getting crushed by a closing window, but the connection to the rest of the story doesn't pay off. The buzzing bee is supposed to be a link with Stone and how he finds religion. However, it is so obscure that more work would be needed to complete the buzzing connection. The only character that delivers is the title character performed by Ed Norton as we see him go from a foul mouthed convict to a remorseful individual that becomes awkwardly likeable.

My final conclusion on the film is that it is certainly worth seeing. I wish it had a greater release in the theaters, but that doesn't mean you won't be able to find it on DVD. The film has its flaws, but 3 Quacks is more than appropriate.

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