"An Abhorrent Confused Mess"
What You Need To Know:
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.
(RoRoRo, PCPCPC, AbAbAb, PaPaPa, FRFRFR, C, LLL, VVV, SSS, NN, AA, D, MMM) Very strong Romantic worldview with heavy politically correct, Anti-Christian bias throughout and a favorable depiction of a fictional New Age pagan religion, with DeNiro's protagonist character shown as a practicing Episcopal Christian who constantly listens to Christian talk radio yet is shown as constantly miserable with his life and trapped in a loveless marriage and who harbors the secret, shown in flashback, that many years before he threatened to throw his baby daughter out an upstairs window when his wife threatened to leave him, and that threat is what kept their marriage going; more than 110 mostly strong obscenities (including many “f” words), 12 strong profanities and a couple light profanities; very strong violence, mostly in just one scene, which shows a convict watching, without attempting to intervene, as a pair of fellow prisoners viciously stab a fellow prisoner to death, plus teenager shown burning grandparents home down after his friend apparently murdered them or fatally hurt them, man holds gun to another man’s head, and angry Christian woman burns family house down because of husband’s infidelity; very strong sexual content includes Christian character struggling with his faith winds up seduced into an intense sexual affair with the wife of a prisoner whose fate he’s deciding, woman has graphic sex with another man whose face is not seen, prisoner’s wife crudely touches his parole officer, and graphic sexual discussions between two men; prisoner's wife is shown with full side nudity and exposed breasts while walking around in a seductive manner, rear male nudity in a sexual context, and upper male nudity; protagonist secretly buys hard liquor and drinks on a regular basis and scenes of drunkenness; smoking; and, deceit, hypocrisy, woman burns down family’s home because of husband’s infidelity and mutters crazily about her actions representing God’s justice, and prisoner mocks his parole officer.
STONE is one of those movies that could have shown promise but instead descends into an abhorrent, immoral, confused mess.
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.