Most helpful positive review
70 of 82 people found the following review helpful
Misunderstood (a look at the film itself)
on January 12, 2011
'Stone' was not received well critically. It was marketed as a prison drama in which Norton and De Niro tensely face off. It isn't. Once you get over that fact and accept the movie on its own terms, your mind and heart can be opened by its powerful reflections.
I believe great cinema works best as a mirror. This describes 'Stone'; not all viewers will see the same story. Some will interpret Norton as a lying sociopath, while I saw him as a man who maintains the upperhand through real--though accidental--spiritual enlightenment. Actually, guilt and enlightenment are the two main undercurrents in the characters' stories. Norton seeks his enlightenment through a religion that helps him to shut his fast mouth and listen; De Niro seeks escape from his "honest and upright" lifestyle through sexual enlightenment. De Niro's life dissolves while Norton's evolves, and the process is nothing short of compelling. You may not expect the end result.
Some interesting sidebars: The religion Norton seeks out is referred to as "Zuckangor: The Religion of the Light and Sound of God," startlingly similar to Eckankar (which I was recently and coincidentally introduced to in a local bookstore). The soundtrack reflects this religion, so listen close for slowly building tones that indicate important moments in character development. Also on this note, watch Norton's hair.
The acting is incredible (I was surprised by Jovovich, too!), the cinematography is thought-provoking, and the story is beautiful. I agree with the reviewer that thinks this movie will age well.