Sunday, October 17, 2010

Stone Rocks

The Verdict:

Robert De Niro and Edward Norton are at the top of their game in this character driven movie about marriage and sin (particularly adultery and lying). De Niro is Jack, a correctional officer with a deep dark secret only he and his wife know. Norton is Stone, a prisoner with cornrows and bad vocabulary. Milla Jovovich plays his wild wife Lucetta who is put up by Stone to seduce Jack in order to get her husband released early.  The characters are all very interesting and played superbly. It's a bit more slow paced than the trailer leads you to believe and the very ending could have been better--- but this drama/thriller is worth seeing just to see two of Hollywood's best actors, De Niro and Norton go at it together.


Distinguished 67 year old Robert De Niro in a sex scene (tasteful of course) with the beautiful 34 year old Milla Jovovich.
Blue-eyed Edward Norton wearing braids (he is first introduced with a close up camera shot of his cornrows), speaking in broken English and using slang (when he opens his mouth with so much plus profanity, it's almost shocking. I found myself chuckling along with the rest of the audience).
It's true and seen in Stone, the drama/thriller (which is originally a play by Angus MacLachlan, also the screenwriter) about a convict who uses his wife as bait for a correctional officer to help him get an early parole.
The always great De Niro (Cape Fear, Bronx Tale) is just that as Jack Mabrey, a grumpy, tight-lipped correctional officer a week away from retiring when he gets the file for Gerald "Stone" Creeson. Stone, played brilliantly and believably by eclectic Norton (American History X, Primal Fear) is a blunt, ignorant convict in jail for murdering his grandparents and is up for a parole hearing. But not that ignorant, as he convinces his gorgeous wide-eyed, devoted, yet promiscuous wife Lucetta (who he calls an "alien" because she's weird)--- played hypnotically wonderful by Jovovich (Resident Evil series)--- to seduce Jack in hopes of upping the chances of him to get released early.
Jack of course can't resist such a beautiful bait as Lucetta, being stuck in a unhappy marriage with his timid, pleasing, religious wife, Madylyn (a sweet Frances Conroy, Catwoman, New in Town).
When Lucetta starts to fall for Jack and Jack's wife finds out about her, things get messy.
Meanwhile, Stone cares less about his cheating wife and the outcome of his parole after discovering a pamphlet on a New Age-esque religion (and here's where the double meaning of the film's title comes in--- the religion believes that people start off as small as actual stones and have to work their way up to become human beings) that is about hearing God through sounds--- and begins to undergo a real change.
By the end, two characters have changed for the better, Stone and Madylyn while Jack regresses and Lucetta stays the same.
There are scenes in Stone that are questionable to their relevance (a scene where an inmate gets stabbed to death in front of Stone and when Jack gets drunk at his retirement party and hits on then belittles a female co-worker). And there is a major loose end near the end pertaining a fire. It's not clear who started it. Was it Stone, Lucetta, Stone and Lucetta or Jack's wife?
The ending itself isn't as satisfying (the very last shot especially--- it got groans and some curse words from half of the audience) as I would have liked but it works.
So what deep dark secret is Jack hiding? The answer interestingly is actually the start of Stone with a younger Jack and Madylyn. *SPOILER: Madylyn tells Jack she's going to leave him finally. Jack stops watching television and goes into the room where their young daughter is sleeping, picks her up and starts to toss her out of the window. Madylyn promises she'll stay with him and Jack puts their daughter back down.*
It is a treat watching De Niro and Norton act together again (they battled their wits first in the 2001 heist film The Score) as well as seeing Jovovich play an entirely differently character than the butt-kicker characters she usually plays.
For superb acting from De Niro, Norton and Jovovich, a great plot and complex, fascinating characters, Stone is the movie to go see.


  1. this seems like it was pretty hard 2 write without giving away the plot, good job though, i still have 2 see it though!

  2. Harvey, thanks!
    A lot of audience members were almost booing at the ending--- but probably because there wasn't so much action & it was more of a character study.
    You're gonna really love it though because it's very noir-ish at times.

  3. this movie was really good, i liked how the characters switched, i didn't see it coming, robert deniro character was shocking, i liked milla jovovich, her eyez r really hypnotizing, i liked how deniro & norton worked together, reunited since the score, this movie was a classic of how people change!