An Abhorrent Confused Mess
Release Date: October 08, 2010
Starring: Edward Norton, Robert DeNiro,
Milla Jovovich, Frances Conroy
Runtime: 105 Minutes
Distributor: Overture Films/Relativity
Director: John Curran
Executive Producer: Renee Besson, Danny Dimbort,
Avi Lerner, Trevor Short
Producer: David Mimran, Jordan Schur,
Writer: Angus McLachlan
Address Comments To:Ryan Kavanaugh, CEO
Relativity Media (Rogue Pictures/Overture Films)
8899 Beverly Blvd., Suite 510
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Phone: (310) 859-1250
Fax: (310) 859-1254
A career parole officer named Jack (Robert DeNiro) in a rural prison is approaching retirement when he encounters a young prisoner nicknamed Stone (Edward Norton). Stone claims he's done enough time for causing the arson murders of his own grandparents several years before. Stone tells Jack he's reformed and desperately wants to get back to his wife Lucetta (Milla Jovovich), an elementary school teacher who harbors a wild sexual side to her personality.
When Jack seems reluctant to release Stone, Stone enlists Lucetta to seduce Jack and thereby blackmail him into releasing Stone early. However, Stone suddenly feels motivated to truly focus on his spiritual life and starts trying to practice a strange New Age religion, which manages to mellow his hair-trigger temper and make him resent the fact his wife has slept with Jack.
As Jack spirals downward into his affair with Lucetta, he starts to drink more and openly questions his faith. Ultimately, Jack's wife goes crazy and sets fire to their house, leaving Jack's life in tatters as Stone leaves his wife and heads out of town a free man, presumably off to seemingly begin life anew as she continues her wild ways in random affairs.
STONE is a confusing mess of a movie, regrettably wasting one of Robert DeNiro's finest performances in many years. It also wastes good work by Norton and, surprisingly, Milla Jovovich on its relentlessly downbeat plot that shows DeNiro’s character to be an empty, pathetic and sad hypocrite whose attempts to live a Christian life actually harbor dark secrets, deep resentments and unhappiness. Jack constantly listens to Christian radio, which has the effect of seeming negative and creepy throughout the movie because it’s obvious he’s hiding a deeply resentful attitude. Norton, meanwhile, plays a vile and duplicitous character who somewhat redeems himself but does so ignoring Christianity as an option, instead following the bizarre beliefs of a fictional New Age cult. His willingness to basically whore out his wife, played by Milla Jovovich, is despicable, and she throws herself into her adulterous activities with abandon. Even DeNiro's character's wife, who pushes him into weekly church services and nightly Bible studies, ultimately is shown as miserable and crazy, setting fire to their house at the end.
STONE features nothing but unsympathetic characters doing horrible things to themselves and others. It also shows Christian believers as miserable hypocrites and seems to contend that the only path to even partial redemption comes through New Age pagan beliefs that sound somewhat Hindu and Buddhist.
STONE is a confusing, abhorrent mess of a movie, regrettably wasting one of Robert DeNiro's finest performances in many years. The story features little but unsympathetic characters doing horrible things to themselves and others. STONE also shows Christian believers as miserable hypocrites and seems to contend that the only path to even partial redemption comes through New Age pagan beliefs. Even the parole officer’s mild wife, who pushes her husband into weekly church services and nightly Bible studies, ultimately is shown as miserable and crazy.