The fact that Edward Norton is in cornrows for “Stone” should tell you about how seriously you need to take this movie. Which is to say, not at all.
Don’t get me wrong, Norton has played a shaved skinhead in “American History X” and a tough-as-nails convict in “25th Hour.” But those were … well, characters. He took them very seriously, gave them humanity, and we responded. Norton’s titular arsonist feels like an attempt to impersonate Steve Carell’s Prison Mike from “The Office.” Perhaps this was his audition for Wes Anderson’s “Moonrise Kingdom?”
The rest of the movie also unintentionally plays out like a comedy as well. DeNiro, in yet another role that reminds us just how long ago “Raging Bull” really was, plays Jack Mabry, a correctional officer about to retire. Yet he’s no match for Stone and his siren of a wife, Milla Jovovich’s Lucetta.
As Jack contemplates one of his final parole cases, he finds himself torn by passion for Lucetta. You know, despite their large age difference. And the fact that he’s married to a loving wife. And of course, she’s married to the man whose fate lies in his hands.
The whole movie is as laughable as Norton’s hair. Plausibility goes out the window as one of the most absurd love triangles in cinematic history takes flight in “Stone.” The whole enterprise should be avoided as much as prison itself. D /