Shutter Island


Director: Martin Scorsese (2010)
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Ben Kingsley, Mark Ruffalo
Find it: IMDB, Amazon

Marty Scorsese does horror. This is Shutter Island's biggest selling point. Well, for horror fans it is, anyway. And despite protestations to the otherwise, it has enough creepy goings-on to justify reviewing on this site. Based on the rather good novel by Dennis Lehane, Shutter Island sees US Marshals Teddy Daniels (DiCaprio) and Chuck (Ruffalo) investigate the disappearance of a patient at a remote lunatic asylum. With a secretive Ben Kingsley running the place, there's bound to be a little more going on than meets the eye. Especially when one considers that Teddy has a few issues of his own. Mostly involving his dead wife. But a different dead wife to the one he had in Inception.

If you've read the book, then you know exactly how Shutter Island is going to play out. I spoiled the movie a little bit for myself by reading it beforehand. Pretty much every scene from the novel is played out by the movie, complete with bits of dialogue repeated verbatim. If you've read the book, don't go in expecting any surprises. I think that was probably a spoiler, but then if you've read the book, you already spoiled it for yourself, silly person. With the twist revealed, Shutter Island is never going to be as good as it could have been for you. Console yourself with the fact that you read books and get to be extra smug by saying things like, "ya, I read the book. I already knew what was going to happen."


Despite that fact, I love the movie - so much so that I'd call it one of my favourites of 2010. The cinematography and setting is incredible. It's a quite beautiful movie, from the gloomy Gothicism of the hospital to the natural forestry and rockery of the island itself. It's also quite amusing that Shutter Island's dream sequences seem to rival those of Inception without even really trying.

Enjoyable as it is, Shutter Island is a divisive piece. DiCaprio's choice of ties are horrible. Some of the scenes play like a sort of comedy and the dialogue appears stunted. Ruffalo seems to be a little on the wooden side. It's perhaps one of Scorsese's lesser pieces but - at least for me - one of his most enjoyable.

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