The bulk of Stone, the film, is as much a mystery as the mysteries people of faith are challenged with from time to time. Presented in some respect as a lingering con game and equally meditative on man's connection to commit evil deeds, Stone is never what you are expecting it to be while watching it, though it is profoundly seriously about the issues it raises. Instead of a thriller, we're presented with a character study of two men of intersecting beliefs with women whose earthly pleasures in this life directly correlate to what they think might happen in the next. Nearly suffering a mid-life crisis of its own midway through as it sulks itself deeper into material some may describe as Bresson-ian, it never has a crisis of faith and allows three very interesting performances to come shining through the center and plenty to ponder in the end.
Robert DeNiro is Jack Mabry, a prison psychologist in a 43-year marriage to the long-suffering Madylyn (Frances Conroy) - one step removed from being Allison Janney's catatonic mate in American Beauty - who reads her Bible while allowing her husband his daily vices of drink and golf. On the verge of retirement, Jack gets a new case in Gerald Creeson, or "Stone" (Edward Norton) as he prefers to be called. Convicted as an accessory to arson and murdering his grandparents, Gerald is stand-offish about his chances for parole, saying out loud anything that can already be read in his file. There's no sign that Jack cares for this young man one way or another but he'll be damned if he's going to let him dictate how he's going to do his job in these final days.