Review: Stone DVD

Stone DVD boxSTUDIO: Anchor Bay | DIRECTOR: John Curran | CAST: Robert De Niro, Edward Norton, Milla Jovovich, Frances Conroy
RELEASE DATE: 1/18/11 | PRICE: DVD $29.98, Blu-ray $39.99
BONUSES: featurette
SPECS: R | 105 min. | Drama | 2.40:1 widescreen | Dolby Digital 5.1 | English and Spanish subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

Stone, starring Robert De Niro (Everybody’s Fine) and Edward Norton (The Incredible Hulk), is described by producer Jordan Schur in a DVD bonus featurette as a psychological thriller. Hmm… Psychological, yes, but there’s nothing particularly thrilling about this limited-release film, which also stars Milla Jovovich (The Fourth Kind) at her vampish best.

At least we get some terrific performances to watch, with Norton delivering his best work since American History X, and Bobby getting to flex his acting chops again after going for the paycheck in the Fockers movies.

De Niro plays Jack Mabry, a parole officer evaluating the potential release of inmate “Stone” Creeson (Norton), who’s eight years into a 10-15 stint for arson. Looking to stack the deck in his favor, Stone enlists his sultry wife Lucetta (Jovovich) to work on Jack, eventually landing Jack in the sack. This is troublesome for the unhappily married, Bible-reading bureaucrat, whose whole career has been by the book, and whose whole life has been by the Book. Just how far will he let Stone – and his new lover – get into his head?

Director John Curran (The Painted Veil), with assists from the cinematographer and composer, does a good job ratcheting up the tension and evoking a terrific, just-this-side-of-sane performance from Norton, but there’s little payoff by the end. The puts Stone into a recent subgenre of mostly small, B-movies that bill themselves as suspense films but don’t appear to lead anywhere. (See The Other Man with Liam Neeson and Antonio Banderas as another example. Or, better yet, don’t.)

The DVD picture looks exceptionally sharp, and the lively Jovovich looks even better as she plays her sex kitten role to the hilt. If you like her, or are enamored with seeing Norton with cornrows in his hair, give this one spin, but don’t go in with high expectations.

The sole bonus feature on the DVD is the aforementioned featurette, which finds the cast and filmmakers saying only good things about the project.

 

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About Gary

Gary Frisch has been contributing laserdisc, DVD and Blu-ray reviews to Video Business magazine, Home Theater Magazine, Home Theater Buyer’s Guide, Stereophile Guide to Home Theater and the DVD Guide for more than 14 years. He still has a collection of more than 40 laserdiscs, along with a working auto-reverse LD player, but thinks Blu-ray is da bomb and anxiously awaits the original Star Wars trilogy so he can buy it for the fifth time.