Stone
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Stone

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Still courtesy of TIFF.

Stone

Directed by John Curran (USA, Special Presentations)
2 STARS
If you’ve ever wanted to see Milla Jovovich heave over a dazed Robert De Niro, or hear Edward Norton do a piss-poor Marshall Mathers impression, be sure to check out Stone. And if you’re into watching movies that make you roll your eyes with such frequency that the gesture loses all meaning, be sure to check out Stone. And also, when Stone comes out in theatres and you’re desperate to piss away twelve bucks seeing Stone, be sure to check out, well you get the idea.
In Stone, Robert De Niro plays a parole officer at a Michigan prison. A severely troubled man (in the opening scene we see him threaten to toss his young daughter out of a window), De Niro’s Jack Marby spends his days watching golf on TV, drinking mason jars of bourbon, trying to find God, keeping his wife’s soul in a dungeon (her words), and running out the clock until retirement. The last parolee he’s charged with deeming worthy of parole is Gerald “Stone” Creeson (Norton), a corn-rowed arsonist cracking under the pressure of his ten to fifteen year sentence. Keen to get out early by any means necessary, Stone uses his wife (Jovovich) as leverage in his parole bid. Enter a poorly played-out psychological chess game between the three parties, as well as the aforementioned sex scene that makes Rainn Wilson’s prison rape fantasy in SUPER seem romantic.
Norton may well go down in history as one of the most poorly utilized actors of his generation, just as De Niro is likely to go down as the great actor who refused to bow out gracefully. In a movie possessing such ostensible raw talent, it’s kind of absurd that B-lister Jovovich phones in the best performance. She’s just about the only credible thing in Stone, and we can only hope that her knack for playing the conniving femme fatale may be elsewhere put to better use.
Want more TIFF 2010? Torontoist’s complete coverage of this year’s Toronto International Film Festival is all right here.

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