There was a time not so long ago when the pairing of Ed Norton and Robert De Niro, two of the greatest actors of our time, would have been greeted with massive excitement. And yet the movie Stone, which was released this fall to little fanfare, barely made a blip. With the movie now on DVD and Blu-Ray, I can see why.
Stone is not a terrible movie. It's not even a bad movie. But it's an uneventful movie that doesn't deliver anything of real value. It's immediately forgettable and consistently underperforms from start to finish.
In Stone, De Niro plays Jack Mabry, a parole officer who is assigned the case of convicted arsonist Gerald "Stone" Creeson. With Stone's parole hearing approaching, the convict, in an attempt to persuade Mabry to a positive review, has his wife (Milla Jovovich) seduce Jack. The decisions the three make have profound consequences on their lives.
The decisions are profound, but not very interesting.
The movie had the potential to be great. Ed Norton has been at his best when he's behind bars (American History X, Primal Fear) and De Niro - well, we all know what he's capable of. The movie is directed by John Curran, who did the surprisingly good The Painted Veil (which also starred Norton) and Junebug writer Angus MacLachlan.
And yet Stone is flat. Norton's performance seems forced, De Niro's uninterested. Only Jovovich seems to fully embrace her role, which makes sense since she's in a movie with Ed Norton and Robert De Niro. Maybe she should sue.
Roger Ebert is quoted on the Blu-Ray cover, calling the film "a psychological duel". Unfortunately, the duel isn't much to watch. The movie goes off the deep end in the final act and features one of the least climactic climaxes in recent memory. Is it supposed to be a thriller, or a drama? Not even the filmmakers know.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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