Rated 4.0

In one of the more misleading ad campaigns of 2010, the Robert De Niro-Edward Norton pairing Stone was positioned as a trashy genre flick with a Primal Fear-esque twist at the end. The most shocking twist to John Curran’s film is that it’s actually a smart and nuanced drama about guilt, deception and absolution, with four very good performances at its core. It opens with a scene of almost biblical heft, an act that lays a foundation of misery and repression for gruff, alcoholic parole officer Jack (De Niro, trying for the first time in 13 years) and his beleaguered wife (Frances Conroy). Just weeks away from retirement, Jack draws a shifty, corn-rowed convict named Stone (Norton, better than most of this year’s Oscar-nominated actors) who uses his beautiful, free-spirited girlfriend (Milla Jovovich) as the bait in an emotionally murky con game. /p>