31 December 2010


Directed by: John Curran
Written by: Angus MacLachlan
Full credits at IMDb

The cynical Stone is set-up like those neo-noirs John Dahl used to make in the 90s, except it’s stripped of any and all urgency. It does, though, retain the high-minded pretension toward something more meaningful that you’d get from, say, The Last Seduction. In this case, it’s an exploration of sin—its roots and its costs, themes underlined by the frequent snippets of religious talk radio smeared on the soundtrack. AM chatter is one of the pleasures enjoyed by Robert DeNiro’s parole officer; another is illicit intercourse, which he gets from an affair he reluctantly enters with the sexpot wife (Milla Jovovich, in the panty-less, Linda Fiorentino femme fatale role) of one of his cases (Edward Norton).

Unfortunately, there’s not much pleasure for the audience in any of that—just a vague sense of familiarity. And then there's Norton’s “profoundly spiritual” nervous breakdown, which has more campy charm than sympathetic poignancy (though because of the way Curran lets it play out, laughter feels like the incorrect reaction). As Anthony Cohan-Miccio put it in The L, "Stone is as hard to take seriously as it is to enjoy."

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