Judging from its trailer, Stone is a simple, floozy revenge flick. Con Edward Norton is up for parole, but has to slog through several meetings with a straight-laced, but deeply conflicted Robert De Niro. Things aren’t working in Norton’s favor, so he sends in his smoldering wife (Milla Jovovich) to seduce De Niro.
Pretty simple, and for the first act, everything rolls along smoothly. Norton, sporting tightly laced cornrows and a squeaky Southern ghettoized accent, excels early. While Jovovich proves that she can be utterly fearless as an actress, when tested properly (which, admittedly, doesn’t happen often).
But then there’s good old Bobby De, looking bored as ever, overacting through every one of his scenes. And once a lame, useless religion subplot is introduced, the movie falls apart quickly.
In one of my fiction writing classes in college, the professor told us that our short stories could be about any topic and have any resolution. Except two things. None of our stories could end with the main character dying, or “finding God.”
My professor had good reason for this because these are two things that seem to be seriously bogging down fictional pop culture. Dying is an easy way out; the story ends, it cannot move forward. Finding religion is very similar. The character changes their life and everything is peachy keen.
It’s lazy writing that makes for a boring film. Don’t get me wrong, some of my favorite movies end with the main character dying, but those movies have a few differences from that of Stone. They’re smart, compelling, rewatchable, and don’t involve an actor who’d rather shoot himself in the head than actually show up on set.
Anchored by Norton, Jovovich and director John Curran’s powerful cinematography and editing, Stone could have been good. Could have. D