De Niro, Norton Team Up in Cat and Mouse Drama

23 October 2010
De Niro, Norton Team Up in Cat and Mouse Drama
Photo: Overture Films
Edward Norton in "Stone"

Actors Robert De Niro and Edward Norton unite in John Curran's new psychological drama Stone. The story revolves around flawed people who have to face their weaknesses as their lives spin out of control.

The early release of Gerald Greeson, also known as Stone (Edward Norton), a convicted arsonist, rests in the hands of Jack Mabry (Robert De Niro), a parole review officer.

For 30 years, Marby has served the law. He has an air of self righteousness. But Jack, a regular churchgoer, is unkind to his wife and a cynic.

Jack's dysfunctional marriage crumbles further as he starts an affair with Lucetta, a beautiful young woman and Stone's wife.

"This temptation, this siren in front of him and the guilt and all these kind of classic almost biblical temptation, to me it was kind like a morality tale," said De Niro.

What Jack does not know is that Stone had asked his wife to influence Jack in writing a favorable parole review for him. And Lucetta goes above and beyond the call of duty.

Actress Milla Jovovich offers a stellar performance as the sensual Lucetta.

"On one hand, she's like a child. She's this innocent. But on the other hand she's very sexual and very animalistic," Jovovich explained.

And while Lucetta lives life to the fullest, Stone is undergoing a spiritual transformation after reading some religious pamphlets in jail.

Edward Norton offers a nuanced performance as the mercurial convict gradually turning introspective. Norton told VOA that none of the characters he plays reflect his personality.

"Most of the things I've done are not specific to anything in my experience. But I relate in the sense that I feel it's easy for me to imagine myself in other people's circumstances," explained Norton.

There are no redeeming characters in this story. In the end, the tables are turned in the power struggle between Jack and Stone. Jack loses his grip while Stone finds inner balance and peace.

John Curran's Stone is an existential drama with powerful actors, great cinematography and staying power.