Shutter Island

Shutter Island by Martin Scorsese

Yesterday, I received a pass to an advanced screening to see Shutter Island, the newest film collaboration between Martin Scorsese (director) and Leonardo DiCaprio. All in all, I enjoyed it.

The basic premise: Teddy Daniels (DiCaprio) and Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo) arrive on Shutter Island, an isolated mental hospital that used to be a Civil War fort, in order to track down an escaped, violent mental patient who vanished from a locked cell, “Vanished into thin air,” and leaving a cryptic message behind.

That’s where normalcy ends.

For the remainder of the movie, we’re not sure what is real or illusion, sane or insane. A violent hurricane beats the island, creating a perpetual dark and stormy night, which provides a Gothic atmosphere to the story. There is a good twist at the end, though I think I saw it coming a little earlier than necessary, but the very last 2 minutes provide ambiguity to the audience as to the main character’s fate.

As I watched, I felt like I watched an old Agatha Christie film adaptation, or a Hitchcockian psychological thriller, a nice reprieve in the midst of effects-filled epics like Avatar (bah)–not that effects are bad. It’s just nice to know that you don’t have to rely on them in order to make a film work.

This is not Scorsese’s best work, nor is it his worst. When you compare it to a masterpiece like The Departed, this does fall short, being a little slow at times. Still, I did like it better than the novel from which Scorsese adapted it by Dennis Lehane (who also authored Mystic River).

Not for teens. It’s rated-R for language and pretty disturbing images.


2 thoughts on “Shutter Island

  1. I’ve seen the preview for this movie several times. Absent Leonardo I would not even consider watching it — not my cup of tea. Still probably won’t because of the disturbing images, but then again, I watched Robocop two nights ago, speaking of disturbing images.

    How fun that you have a blog!

  2. Finally got around to watching this yesterday. Disturbing would be an accurate word. You mention Agatha Christie and Hitchcock… I would agree. I saw the film as if A Beautiful Mind had been told by Hitchcock, though with less of an emotional impact than ABM had on me.

    Interestingly enough, this film had a positive impact in improving my opinion of Leo’s acting. He may yet be redeemed in my eyes.

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