Vivendi Visual Entertainment // 2008 // 91 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // May 7th, 2010
It all started with a game of cards...
Uwe Boll strikes again, this time trading the video game adaptations for something just as awful.
Stoic follows four men who are locked up in prison. They're typically mundane existence is highlighted by a regular game of cards, where cigarettes and bragging rights are the spoils for victory. One such card game has a particularly disgusting wager hanging over it, and when the low inmate on the totem pole loses and refuses to accept his penalty, his three cell-mates go bonkers. One thing leads to another and the guy is found hanging and dead the next morning. Was it suicide? Or murder? What follows is the telling of the tale.
I'm not an Uwe Boll hater. I don't really hate anyone, except for maybe Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and that kid who wrote on my face with permanent marker in eighth grade. Granted, more than a couple of his movies have hurt my brain, but I won't deny the guy his success. If he can find investors and make them money with his directorial efforts, then good for him. Which is to say I didn't go into Stoic harboring any preconceived desires to dump on it just because Boll was the creative force behind it.
But...dump on it I will, because Stoic is pretty much pointless. What exactly is Boll trying to tell me with this movie? That being in prison sucks? That having psycho roommates sucks? I knew that already.
The story is told by a mixture of interviews with the cellmates and a gradual unveiling of what really led up to the hanging. There is a smidgen of tension in the beginning because the cause of the kid's death is unknown, but that suspense doesn't hold. Of course there's more to the story than a simple suicide, and watching Boll weave his yarn becomes an exercise in bored inevitability.
However, what isn't inevitable is the lengths Boll goes to shock the audience. I won't get too detailed so to avoid spoilers; I'll just say the culmination of the jailhouse shenanigans involves a mop handle and is quite disturbing. (This begs the question why there are such dangerous weapons just sitting around a cell room full of wackos.)
Again, though, what's the point? I don't understand the lesson I'm supposed to take away from this. These guys are crazy douchebags and with each passing frame one-up their douchebaggery until the end. In the interview segments, Boll attempts to lend some weight to the story with the guys trying to defend their actions and blame the system and blah blah blah. Hey, I'll be honest, after watching Stoic I came away even more grateful for institutionalized incarceration.
The disc is a gun-metal gray-tinted 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen; 5.1 Dolby Digital; with commentary from Boll, deleted scenes and a making-of featurette.
It wants to be something more, but Stoic is just empty-headed brutality for brutality's sake.
Guilty. But you already knew that.
Review content copyright © 2010 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Vivendi Visual Entertainment
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* English (CC)
Running Time: 91 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Deleted Scenes