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Stars: Mia Wasikowska, Nicole Kidman, Matthew Goode, Jacki Weaver, Dermot Mulroney, Alden Ehrenreich, Lucas Till, Peg Allen, Judith Godrèche, Harmony Korine, Ralph Brown

Director: Park Chan-Wook

A very arty chiller where sound and even pictures bleed into the following scene.

At her father's funeral, 18-year-old India (Wasikowska) meets her suave long-lost uncle, Charlie (Goode), who cooks dinner but doesn't eat it, and proves to be about as harmless as Joseph Cotten's Uncle Charlie in Hitchcock's Shadow of a Doubt.

Well, Charlie hangs around for a bit and both the housekeeper (Allen) and a well-meaning aunt (Weaver) soon disappear from the household, India finding the former's body in the cellar freezebox. Her mother (Kidman), meanwhile, is quite taken with Charlie, and invites him to stay.

Elliptical dialogue and scenes where apparent participants may not be there proliferate, as India, who seems to have pale-blue blood, becomes increasingly disturbed, stabbing a school bully with a pencil and finding a series of letters to her from Uncle Charlie, stashed away in the attic, that reveal where he's been for the 'lost' years when he was allegedly travelling the world.

Once its secret cats are out of the bag, the film becomes less interesting and increasingly trying, with the actors encouraged to strike poses rather than further the plot. Goode, though, cast against type, is smooth as silk as creepy Charlie.

David Quinlan

USA 2012. UK Distributor: 20th Century Fox (Fox Searchlight). Technicolor.
99 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 18.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 23 Feb 2013