Stoker’s director, Park Chan-Wook, makes his American debut with this tense psychological thriller. Wook’s stylistic credentials have long been established with films such as Old Boy, but in Stoker he has managed to create a stunning image in nearly every frame. Complementing the film’s images is it’s stunningly crafted sound design.
Mia Wasikowska plays the character India, who can ‘hears things others cannot hear’. This contention is perfectly realised by sound designer Chuck Michael’s enhancement of the sonic elements within the film – the sound of a knife chopping, metronomes ticking and shoelaces being tied all build to create a tense sonic world.
Even if we have seen a similar use of sound (such as the opening credits of Dexter), Michael has created a perfect compliment to composer Clint Mansell’s music and here seem to be working in a similar way to Skip Lievsay and Carter Burwell on the Coen Brothers film Barton Fink, who worked closely together, so each knew exactly which part of the sonic spectrum to inhabit. Park’s previous films have used sound design and music to great effect, particularly his ‘Vengeance Trilogy’ and Stoker builds on these to a more subtle and perhaps even more powerful effect.