[A] hooey-heavy prison-and-faith drama.
Lisa Schwarzbaum - Entertainment Weekly
[It ends] up subverting expectations by denying pleasure.
Manohla Dargis - New York Times
Moral ambiguity and ethical compromise are at the heart of this meandering prison drama, but at a certain point we simply don't care anymore who is base and baser.
Claudia Puig - USA Today
Ultimately Stone sags under its own overblown philosophical weight, with a strained and painfully obvious spiritual subtext finally smothering what could have been a simple, effective psychological thriller.
Ann Hornaday - Washington Post
What looked like a juicily absurd film noir disguised as a generational acting battle is something closer to a dirge -- a dead-serious meditation on faith and grace, redemption and damnation.
Ty Burr - Boston Globe
At odds with its own lofty and base instincts, Stone ultimately channels neither compellingly.
Nick Schager - Village Voice
How Curran and his cast chew into it is often mesmerizing.
Joe Neumaier - New York Daily News
Stone is that rare film that refuses to be easy.
Tom Maurstad - Dallas Morning News
Stone could have been some sort of a procedural, a straightforward crime movie, but it's too complex for that. It is actually interested in the minds of these characters, and how they react to a dangerous situation.
Roger Ebert - Chicago Sun-Times
Genuinely odd in its mixture of bluntness and indirection, screenwriter Angus MacLachlan's study in biblical temptation is saved from its own heavy-handedness by a fine quartet of actors.
Michael Phillips - Chicago Tribune
You can feel the movie's gears grinding throughout, first in the rote suspense mechanics and later in the ham-fisted religiosity (conveyed through an endless soundtrack of evangelistic talk radio).
J. R. Jones - Chicago Reader
An ambiguous film boasting a quartet of mesmerizing performances...
Carrie Rickey - Philadelphia Inquirer
As in every good dialogue-driven film, talk equals action. The excitement here is sparked by the verbal and gestural give-and-take between the actors.
Colin Covert - Minneapolis Star Tribune
A disconcerting and challenging film. It leaves you wondering. How cool is that?
Tom Long - Detroit News
If you're of a mind that actors as talented as Robert De Niro and Edward Norton could make even pedestrian material watchable, Stone puts your theory to the test. And surprise! They can.
Bill Goodykoontz - Arizona Republic
Mr. De Niro fails to make anything about his miserable character poignant, and Mr. Norton's overwrought intensity borders on hysteria. The desired moral dilemma never arrives.
Rex Reed - New York Observer
Though nearly sabotaged by the ridiculous sexual subplot at its center, this soul-searching drama works best at the character level, couching insights about sin and forgiveness under the guise of conventional genre entertainment.
Peter Debruge - Variety
A movie steeped in sin that squats awkwardly in a cinematic purgatory between tawdry and talky.
Kyle Smith - New York Post
It's a tour de force for Norton, who fills the air with an intense and yet thoughtful patter about why Stone is in the joint, what he did, what he doesn't want to think about/talk about any more and what he thinks Jack Mabry wants to hear.
Roger Moore - Orlando Sentinel
The movie wouldn't work as well as it does without the impressive support they get from the film's leading ladies, Frances Conroy and Milla Jovovich, who act as catalysts for the explosive drama.
Peter Howell - Toronto Star
It's worth the price of admission to see Norton and De Niro sparring across a prison-house desk.
James Bradshaw - Globe and Mail
The craftsmanship is impeccable as is the acting, but the storytelling is where the movie falls down. And with such a poorly realized narrative, it's hard to be enthusiastic about the many things Stone does right.
James Berardinelli - ReelViews
A thoroughly unconvincing melodrama about a sexual triangle that few viewers are likely to buy.
- Hollywood Reporter
Hard to believe, but Edward Norton in cornrows is one of the less ludicrous things you'll see in this film.
Sean Burns - Philadelphia Weekly
Stone is a flawed film, largely because Lucetta is a B-movie seductress preying on believable human beings with backgrounds and complicated hearts.
Jeffrey Overstreet - Image
A prisoner and parole officer grapple with sins and the need for redemption in this subtle drama of parallel lives.
Sarah Sluis - Film Journal International
It's got something to say. What that something is, though -- besides a four character study in spiritual decay -- is sort of up to you.
Dave White - Movies.com
Stone is an unusual film which shifts uneasily between sleaze and philosophy, but it's distinguished at all times by three luminous performances.
Shaun Munro - What Culture
Great performances from the cast in this engrossing drama.
Nev Pierce - Empire Magazine
Stone ultimately feels more confounding rather than profound, (but) it will have you thinking after its credits have rolled.
Matt Neal - The Standard
An engrossing drama about the difficulty people have believing in forgiveness or in turning one's life around.
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat - Spirituality and Practice
Dark and disturbing, this drama holds our interest due to the strong acting and provocative issues swirling around in the story. But it's a little heavy-handed in its desire to convey something important.
Rich Cline - Shadows on the Wall
This film has the kind of suspense where you know something bad is going to happen, but instead of just getting it over with, the film drags it out way too long.
Robert Roten - Laramie Movie Scope
Seems as weary as the Detroit parole caseworker Robert De Niro plays.
Dennis Schwartz - Ozus' World Movie Reviews
When did Robert De Niro stop trying? When did he start coasting on his well-deserved reputation, either mocking it in crass comedies or sleepwalking through dramas where fans filled in the missing emotions for him?
Lawrence Toppman - Charlotte Observer
Set up as a familiar noir plot, the film veers off into unexpected places, keeping the audience guessing as to the main characters' motivations well after the credits roll.
Rob Thomas - Capital Times (Madison, WI)
Like a celluloid 'American Gothic,''Stone' does not paint a pretty picture.
Donald J. Levit - ReelTalk Movie Reviews
There's an obvious difference between elegant underplaying and merely going through the motions, and while, say, Michael Caine still excels at the former, De Niro has sadly become a master of the latter.
Matt Brunson - Creative Loafing
Stone is a movie about fragile souls. About how fragile we all are.
Clint O'Connor - Cleveland Plain Dealer
With its excess of blatant symbolism and illogical character turns, what could have been a halfway decent exploration of personal ethics turns into a half-assed excuse for entertainment.
Bill Gibron - PopMatters
Watching these three actors burrow like ticks into the underbelly of John Curran's murky moral drama should be enough of a reason to recommend Stone, and it almost is.
Sean O'Connell - Filmcritic.com
A 'serious' intent and an ill-fitting hilljack argot reduce Stone to a pebble of a fil
Corey Hall - Metro Times (Detroit, MI)
If only one character in Stone reacted as someone in his position would to the preposterous situation at hand, the movie would be 15 minutes long.
Steve Persall - Tampa Bay Times
Superbly crafted, smartly acted, suspense-filled noir thriller about compromised ethics.
Susan Granger - SSG Syndicate
Freedom, though, as a concept is at the heart of some very sophisticated theology that makes up this literate drama
Andrea Chase - Killer Movie Reviews
A lot of talent goes to waste in this repulsive movie directed by John Curran. This mishmash of profanity, kinky sex and religious babble should have gone straight to DVD.
Keith Cohen - Entertainment Spectrum
There are momentary flashes of dramatic power here, but ultimately "Stone" runs aground on its unfulfilled ambitions, which are both lofty and maddeningly vague.
Robert W. Butler - Kansas City Star
Mostly this is a tense, portentous, and provocative piece.
Kimberley Jones - Austin Chronicle
Angus MacLachlan's script never convinces, and John Curran's direction lacks energy.
Jim Lane - Sacramento News & Review
...screenwriter Angus MacLachlan seems to be trying to rewrite Equus without realizing that: 1) what works on stage does not necessarily work on screen, and 2) it's not the '70s anymore.
Sarah Boslaugh - Playback:stl
The characters drive it, and they are fascinating.
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul) - St. Paul Pioneer Press
It's a frustrating, stunted film, dishonest in its intentions and clumsy with its narrative.
Justin Strout - Orlando Weekly
Screenwriter Angus MacLachlan attempts something bold -- broad themes about a society in moral decline -- but he fails to find the story in all that philosophizing.
Steve Ramos - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Stone seems to care more about keeping us guessing about what the characters are going to do than it does about making us care what is going to happen to them.
Kenneth R. Morefield - Christianity Today
Echoes of "Cape Fear" reverberate across a withering suspense thriller that pales in comparison.
Cole Smithey - ColeSmithey.com
Stone isn't the straightforward thriller it appears to be, but the alternative turns out to be dull and lifeless. At least the title is apt: Like a rock, Stone has no pulse.
Rene Rodriguez - Miami Herald
As Lucetta, Jovovich delivers the film's best performance. She is enticing, seductive and a little bit unnerving. However, it's not enough to save this movie.
David Kaplan - Kaplan vs. Kaplan
Worth watching just to see the two heavyweights face off.
"Stone" is boring, trite and overacted.
Jeanne Kaplan - Kaplan vs. Kaplan
The best reason to see Stone, really, comes from Jovovich, who takes her opportunity to ditch the zombies and square off against the A-listers and absolutely wallops it out of the park.
Andrew Wright - The Stranger (Seattle, WA)
Stone starts interesting, gets better, and then simply sits there until it ends with a whimper instead of a much-needed bang.
Brian Tallerico - HollywoodChicago.com
Stone is neither high-minded nor low-brow enough. Instead it's stuck in the middle -- in purgatory.
Kevin Williamson - Jam! Movies
Norton, De Niro, Jovovich, Conroy all give performances that are better than the film itself. Save your money in the theaters and rent it when it comes out on DVD.
Kevin McCarthy - BDK Reviews
Jovovich creates the most captivating, sexy, mindblowing femme fatale you have seen in movies in over 30 years, and can easily teach Megan Fox and Miley Cyrus a thing or two or three.
Willie Waffle - WaffleMovies.com
There's enough terrible in this movie to go around.
Norman Wilner - NOW Toronto
It's the sort of acting virtuoso duet this film, a weak-tea variant of Martin Scorsese's 1992 "Cape Fear" remake with Norton riffing on De Niro's Max Cady, needed a lot more of.
James Verniere - Boston Herald
A meditative, quietly gripping work about people awash in latent unhappiness, coming up from the mud, and slowly pawing their way to a place where they might (or might not) be able to get out of it.
Brent Simon - Shared Darkness
What compels is De Niro's metamorphosis from bottled-up and angry to confused and, well, angry.
Shawn Levy - Oregonian
It presents us with four characters who are fascinating, specific and yet in some way unknowable, not like the usual characters in fiction but rather like people we might meet in life.
Mick LaSalle - San Francisco Chronicle
You'll admire the performances. But the script's ugly undercurrent will leave you feeling queasy.
Tricia Olszewski - Washington City Paper
The performances are the keepers here.
Matt Pais - Metromix.com
Curran sustains suspense and an atmosphere of intensifying menace.
Peter Keough - Boston Phoenix
As a thespian duel between two heavyweights...has a good deal to recommend it. But in dramatic terms...leaves a lot to be desired.
Frank Swietek - One Guy's Opinion
Kofi Outlaw - ScreenRant
Stone feels like the product of a committee, not a collaboration, and the resulting aesthetic and thematic incoherence undermines what could have been a precise and even profound character piece.
Michelle Orange - Movieline
...an actor?s film with the story taking a back seat to the thesps.
Robin Clifford - Reeling Reviews
Norton is outrageously good in the lead role, laugh out loud funny in Stone's earliest incarnation, gradually evolving into someone quite serious.
Laura Clifford - Reeling Reviews
This is a film about people who are lost, and the filmmakers draw a direct line between their characters' existential wanderings and the religious obsessions they find for themselves.
Ian Buckwalter - NPR
Stone is highly charged and vibrant, and pits Edward Norton against Robert De Niro for two utterly electrifying performances.
Barbara Goslawski - Boxoffice Magazine
As the movie warms up and settles into place, it becomes clear that there's much more going on here than just actors' egos.
Jeffrey M. Anderson - Combustible Celluloid
Collaborations between Robert De Niro and Edward Norton--one generation's most respected actor paired with another's most affected--seem doomed to be defined by acting with a capital A.
Jesse Cataldo - Slant Magazine
[O]nly the startlingly belligerent honesty of Edward Norton?s portrayal of the title character that makes this worth a look... [S]omething important is missing here: perhaps from the anticlimactic third act...
MaryAnn Johanson - Flick Filosopher
A stunner - a film that seems to be one thing but turns out to be quite another. It challenges your assumptions at every turn and leaves you wrung out at the end.
Marshall Fine - Hollywood & Fine
full review at Movies for the Masses
Joseph Proimakis - Movies for the Masses
De Niro plays a deeply flawed and hypocritical corrections officer with just the right mix of self-righteousness and vulnerability, embodying a man whose soul has withered from decades of corrosion.
Scott Tobias - AV Club
Curran offers an affecting portrait of a world gone awry, with morality thrown into question and conventions torn apart.
Robert Levin - Critic's Notebook
A murky bible belt noir steeped in mystical evangelical voodoo more suited to sci-fi. In which De Niro seems to turn back into Travis Bickle minus his taxi, while Norton finds Jesus, loses his dreadlocks and becomes a self-described tuning fork for God.
Prairie Miller - NewsBlaze
Thick with moral ambiguity, Stone proves to be a character drama that confuses heavy brow-furrowing for an insightful dissection of several ethically slippery individuals.
Tim Grierson - Screen International
The seesaw effect of the characters' clarity and confusion helps Curran & Co.'s unexpected, occasionally heavy-handed fumblings toward examining spiritual emptiness find purchase.
David Fear - Time Out
Stone, like director John Curran's previous work, never peaks in any way that could be conventionally described as satisfying.
Bill Chambers - Film Freak Central
Not to pigeonhole anyone, but it is hard to imagine the man behind the creative and charming June Bug is also the writer who has delivered the pedestrian and mundane script here.
Joanna Langfield - The Movie Minute
One of those films that revels in despair and monotony, just another 'bad things happen, people are miserable' piece for actors who want to show how downbeat they can be.
Fred Topel - Screen Junkies
[De Niro] offers up a closed-off and downright bland turn that ensures that the viewer has exceedingly little invested in his character's plight.
David Nusair - Reel Film Reviews
Stone is thrilling for what we're left to ponder afterwards more than any suspense inherit in the interaction during it.
Erik Childress - Cinematical
While Stone may not be a film you'll want to rush out to once it opens in a few weeks, if you want to see a somewhat unconventional thriller, this would make a solid rental.
Chris Bumbray - JoBlo's Movie Emporium
It's hard to say which element of this risible drama is sillier - Angus MacLachlan's portentous screenplay, cobbled together from half a dozen of Jim Thompson's lesser potboilers, or Norton's sustained impression of Bubbles from The Wire.
- NOW Toronto