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Stone

April 27, 2011

 

Stone with Robert Deniro, Milla Jovovich and Edward Norton

Edward Norton and Milla Jovovich in Stone

Stone leaves the now home audience immersed discussing pseudo-philosophies, the placebo effect, moral responsibility versus guilt and the validity of a true character change.

Jack Mabry (Robert Deniro, Casino, Taxi Driver) reviews inmates terms and behaviors deeming them either worthy of early release or subject to full term. One such case revolves around Gerald “Stone” Creeson (Eward Norton, Fight Club) convicted as accessory to the murder of his grandparents in addition to the following arson. Wife to Stone, the “dime” atheist vixen Lucetta Creeson (Milla Jovavich, The Fifth Element) plays temptress on the outside luring a suspect Jack into her influential disarming prowess. Nearing the end of his incarceration Stone experiences a dark epiphany as witness to a needless murder afterwhich he seeks new knowledge and guidance for renewing his character; he finds transforming truth which leaves both his reviewing cop and promiscuous partner at a loss.

Zukangor, a fictitious eastern philosophy (found in easy to read pamphlet form) inspires this inmate to seek enlightenment through first “the sound,” which is described to next evolve into an enveloping light. While most note that people don’t change overnight, the shift remains evident in Norton’s portrayel of the character’s new found guiltless disposition. Attempting to share this disovered inner harmony with Jack and Lucetta only leads to unintended frustration and conflict. To compact confrontation, the same pamphlet later finds its way into the hands of Jack’s wife, Madylyn (Frances Conroy, Six Feet Under). Sharing with her husband on the porch, she describes the journey of spiritual development within the faith as beginning in an early life form (from smaller primitive life into larger animals), slowly earning our human state while all the time paying for the sins of our past lives. Although she doesn’t subsribe this doctrine undoubtedly serves as a fiery catalyst for her future. Do these new reflections lead these two characters into fresh frames of life or is it simply convenient self-trickery?

Stone with Robert Deniro, Milla Jovovich and Edward Norton

Click here to buy Stone

What’s more daunting than the haunting truths of Stone’s past is the brilliantly transitioned opening scene between Jack and Madylyn where a child becomes bargained bait for the parents’ future dissolving into the present day couple seated in church. Mixed throughout the film are soundscapes of continuous judgement, religious talk radio and fear evoking news reports which pair the internal maddening monologue of the old man approaching retirement.

Daring departures sometimes falter but not in this instance. Jovavich proves the perfect player balancing pseudo-innocence with fearless frivolity.  While often viewed as the super powered action heroine, this actress flaunts verile versatility and an unwavering gaze of paralyzing seduction. Do not dismiss such a complimentary critique as simply another assimilated, typical lusty role. A subtle madness lies behind those eyes.

While contrary to some of the earlier, established reviews (as from Rex Reed of the New York Observer) which bash the premise and the performers left and right a second opinion for film is always sound; a good movie entertains while either educating or inspiring intellectual conversation and to end in an agreeing last line quote from Reed, “Wait for the DVD,” it is here. This rainy day selection is a quick Red Box away.

Stone

running time 105 min., written by Angus MacLachlan, directed by John Curren

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