Monday, 11 April 2011

Watched - No4 - Stone (John Curran,2010) John curran, who directed The Painted Veil (2006) and wrote the screenplay for Michael Winterbottom's adaptation of Jim Thompson's The Killer Inside Me (2010), helms this slow burning indie crime drama starring Robert De Niro, Ed Norton and Milla Jovovich. Released straight to DVD in the UK, the second of Norton's recent movies to be so, after Tim blake Nelson's Leaves of Grass (2009), Stone is a low key character driven piece that, despite it's attention grabbing cast, never really grips enough to live up to it's promise. Norton plays the titular character, a convicted arsonist up for parole, with De Niro as the officer assigned to his case and Jovovich as Stone's femme fatale wife, willing to do pretty much anything to help secure his release. The tagline for the film reads 'some people tell lies, others live them', and that's the narrative in a nutshell, Stone claiming to have reformed but using his wife as bait to lead De Niro's repressed and unhappily married parole officer astray. Double lives, religion, spirituality, sin and guilt shine through as Stone's themes, but they are never truly explored in the script despite the trio of leading names giving committed, solid performances.

Whilst it's certainly stronger than much of De Niro's contemporary output it's lack of strong character development or real dramatic incident leave it as an unspectacular, by the book tale with the chance to see two of America's leading actor's sharing screentime together as it's main draw. Stone wasn't bad, it just wasn't anything special and I can't really see it being anything other than a minor footnote in both Norton and De Niro's careers.

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