Derek Vineyard in cornrows = awesome!
Edward Norton plays a convicted arsonist who hopes to get out of prison early by putting to work the seductive talents of his beautiful wife, Lucetta (Milla Jovovich). Robert DeNiro plays the parole officer who is the target of the couple’s cat-and-mouse scheming.
This is the second film from director John Curran, and the good thing he does here is create all this drama with a more subtle approach that you wouldn’t see in other films of this nature. It isn’t your big Hollywood picture, and the story moves very slow, but with enough detail to hold your interest as you know something, just something is not going to right.
However, while we’re waiting for that bad thing to happen the story starts to take a very odd route, and get very spiritual. It’s a very unusual film because it often shits very uneasily towards sleaze and philosophy, and it doesn’t work out well in the end. There is a lot of talk about God, second chances, and being forgiven and for the most part I thought all of this was just dumb for a story like this, because they could have taken a more simpler approach and it would have been fine the way it was.
I liked the screenplay and thought many parts where they tried to get their point across, they did and it worked well, but then there were these long stretches of just something disturbing happening, and it made no sense as to why it was put in here. By the end especially, this film starts to dive into some ludicrous situations but I won’t lie, I still found myself actually involved with this crazy story.
Robert De Niro has been getting some fragile, grand-pop figures as of late, but I was glad to finally just see him have that opportunity to lay into people here as Jack Mabry. I’m not going to say he gives an amazing performance here, but he still has the presence and the strength to hold together his character as he gets more and more emotionally involved with this story. Edward Norton plays Gerald “Stone” Creeson, and proves that he is one of the best actors out there working in the biz today. The whole gimmick behind this film is that he has cornrows in this film which he actually done to his hair, and apparently when he took them out, he looked like Gene Wilder. Little fun fact there, you can either take it or leave it, assholes. I’m glad in this film that he does over-act in such a role, instead he keeps it small, intense, and overall just believable. Stone’s wife, Lucetta, is played incredibly well by Milla Jovovich, who finally gets a chance to get away from his zombie-killing times, and actually flaunt her acting skills again. She takes what could have been a standard psycho bitch, femme fatale role and makes it something deeper because she’s needy, she’s volatile, and makes you believe that she really can be this crazy and daring.
Consensus: Stone is a slow film, that borders between philosophy and sleaziness, but the trio of leads will keep you on suspense for this whole film and you should definitely check it out, because it’s a lot better than the trailers have it look.