Saturday, November 27, 2010


I saw Stone which was featured at the 2010 Mill Valley Film Festival as part of their tribute to Edward Norton. I had to use a Landmark Theatres discount card by November 30 and the film fit my schedule. To be honest, it wasn't a film I was particularly interested in seeing.

Stone starring Robert De Niro, Edward Norton, Milla Jovovich and Frances Conroy; (2010) - Official Website

I enjoyed De Niro and Norton's previous collaboration which was a 2001 film called The Score. The caper film featured De Niro and Norton as two cat burglars (bankrolled by Marlon Brando!) forming an uneasy partnership to rip off an artifact from the Montreal Customs House. It was full of twists and turns and featured an exciting sequence where they are breaking into the vault.

Stone is a completely different film. De Niro plays Jack Mabry, a Michigan parole officer and Norton plays Stone, a prisoner up for parole. Mabry would seem to have all the power in the relationship but he has two disadvantages. First, Mabry is hollowed out after a lifetime of existential subsistence. He takes no pleasure or comfort from his job, his marriage, his religion or even himself. Second, Stone is a particularly intelligent, observant and manipulative prisoner who eventually pushes his sexy and ferral wife (Jovovich) onto Mabry. Rounding out the cast is Frances Conroy as Mrs. Mabry, a woman who has spent her lifetime having her spirit eroded by Mabry's lack of passion and empathy.

Jovovich has received much praise for her performance which is provocative and open to interpretation. Actually, each character's actions and motivations are open to interpretation. It makes the film more complex and true to life. However the film is morose and depressing; the same could be said for life. Oddly, Stone (the convicted arsonist) seems the least maladjusted of the quartet.

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