I looked forward to John Curran’s Stone and really wanted to like it, but I felt something lacking. I’m going to chalk it up to Angus MacLachian’s script which, though it provides one of Robert DeNiro’s best parts of recent years, still lacks a satisfying third act.
The premise is a good one for a cat-and-mouse tale: retiring correctional officer DeNiro on one of his last case studies , (and as we know, no one can retire without a last-minute monkey wrench thrown at them) meets arsonist up for parole, “Stone” Creeson (Edward Norton). Since the initial interview doesn’t go swimmingly (Stone’s refusal to take responsibility and his needless taunting of DeNiro probably don’t help his cause), Stone turns to his lovely young wife (an alluring Milla Jovovich) to help get the job done—any way she knows how. What should be a slow, simmering tale gets bogged down in discussions of faith, hope (no charity), guilt, responsibility, and redemption. I kept anticipating a few more plot developments—instead I got mournful looks, muddy motvations and murky behavior. It becomes very hard to sympathize with Stone, and even harder to care about the eventual outcome. DeNiro, however, does a good job as a struggling man trying to make sense of things—if only the script didn’t let him down.