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Stone
DVD disk
01.17.2011 By: Jason Adams
Stone order
Director:
John Curran

Actors:
Robert De Niro
Edward Norton
Milla Jovovich

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A parole officer, weeks from retirement, is manipulated by a cunning prisoner and his seductive girlfriend.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Wow, Robert De Niro is actually acting again! Itís a shame that he had to follow up STONE with LITTLE FOCKERS, because this movie is proof that the once legendary actor still has the goods, even if he chooses not to use them. Thatís not to say the character of Jack Mabry is in the same league of any of his best performances, but at least this film represents him trying again with a character that has some depth and complexity to it.

STONE can be a pretty intense movie when it wants to be. From an opening scene which features the storyís protagonist doing something quite shocking, all signs point to a gripping tale and the cast is up to the task. Aside from De Niro, Edward Norton also does solid work and disappears in to the title role in a way thatís reminiscent of his earlier, stronger work. Both men play characters who are not all that different despite being on opposite moral sides. De Niro is a very flawed and occasionally unlikeable ďhero,Ē an aging man who rehabilitates criminals while he himself is often insufferable at home. Norton plays the cornrow-coifed, ebonics-speaking inmate struggling with doing whatever it takes to make sure he gets out of the joint and accepting his burgeoning spiritual side. The two characters are definitely intriguing and, as you can imagine, the scenes where the duo play off of each other are the best parts of the film (and much better than any time they shared in THE SCORE). MIlla Jovovich also displays her seldom used dramatic chops as Norton's all-to-loving wife and holds her own against the heavyweights.

As great as the performances are, they're not enough to carry what sadly amounts to be a fairly dull film. STONE actively works to be a multi-character study of two uneven men, bringing in ripe dramatic topics like religion, family and general human nature, but nothing is really explored enough to be meaningful and the ensuing grey area that both seem to exist feels (predictably) unexciting. And as much fun as it is to see two legendary actors spar against one another verbally, the script isnít compelling or strong enough to justify their lengthy discussions and the whole narrative seems to just peter out.

I have nothing against slower-paced character portraits, but STONE didn't really leave me with anything to take away from it, which is a necessity for a film like this.
THE EXTRAS
Making of STONE (6:16): A generic PR-fluff piece with too much plot and character summary and not enough actual behind the scenes stuff.

Trailers.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
STONE is proof that both De Niro and Norton still have the goods if they want to work for it, but sadly some stellar acting isnít enough to save a tedious drama. A rental perhaps if you really want to see their performances.

Extra Tidbit: The prison used was the same one that the Hillary Swank-Sam Rockwell drama CONVICTION was shot in.
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