De Niro's Stone Pretty Heavy

De Niro, Norton at their best in noir-ish prison drama
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 8, 2010 8:15 AM CDT

(Newser) – Prison drama Stone isn't light viewing, critics say, but top-notch performances from stars Robert De Niro and Edward Norton save it from collapsing under the weight of its themes of morality and spirituality.

  • De Niro, who plays wily inmate Norton's parole officer, "seems to turn back into Travis Bickle minus his taxi" in this "murky Bible Belt noir steeped in evangelical voodoo," writes Prairie Miller at News Blaze.

  • Stone works well as a "morally freighted noir" but director John Curran sometimes suffocates the drama "with a tone of high seriousness and unnecessary elements," writes Scott Tobias at the AV Club, praising Milla Jovovich's performance as "a breathy femme fatale who seduces De Niro with a mere change in inflection."
  • "Moral ambiguity and ethical compromise are at the heart of this meandering prison drama" but it never quite catches fire, writes Claudia Puig at USA Today, complaining that the "characters come off like dramatic devices rather than real people."
  • The movie has its flaws, including religious overtones that don't hit the right note, but "it’s worth the price of admission to see Norton and De Niro sparring across a prison-house desk," decides James Bradshaw at the Globe and Mail.

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