One of the things that comes with being a world respected Academy Award winning director (as Martin Scorsese is) is heightened expectations. Well, sometimes those lofty expectations take away from the films you make that aren’t quite what people have come to expect from you. With this film you can see what Scorsese was going for. A combination of thriller/horror and film noir. It works, for the most part, but won’t be appreciated by everyone.
U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio – Reservation Road, Titanic) is teamed up with a new partner, Chuck (Mark Ruffalo – 13 Going on 30, Just Like Heaven), to investigate the disappearance of a female inmate on Shutter Island. Shutter Island is a secluded island where they lock up the worst of the criminally insane. Rachel (Emily Mortimer – Harry Brown, The Pink Panther 2), a dangerous inmate who killed her three children, disappeared a few days ago and marshals have been called in to help in the search for her. She is thought to be hiding somewhere on the island, but no one can find her.
What begins as an average investigation turns into something mysterious and sinister. Daniels investigative skills get him some leads, but the man in charge of the prison, Dr. Crawley (Ben Kingsley – Prince of Persia, Fifty Dead Men Walking), won’t give him access to the patients files. Other roadblocks start creeping up like when a huge hurricane knocks out all communication isolating Daniels and Chuck and they don’t know who they can trust on an island they cannot leave.
After watching it you will understand why critics were divided about the film. Some hated it and some loved it. The film plays with you like a cat toying with a mouse. The back and forth will leave some stomachs churning. A horror film that makes you think! Imagine that!
Scorsese has teamed up once again with his muse Leonardo DiCaprio. This time it is for a gothic adaptation of a Dennis Lehane novel. And Scorsese does not go easy on his boy wonder. He really puts him through the wringer mentally, emotionally and physically. This is no cushy role for DiCaprio.
Filled with tension and intrigue almost throughout (I’ll discuss that later), Shutter Island is not a film for every ticket buyer. You have to pay attention to the story and use your brain a lot. It will challenge you while keeping you on the edge of your seat. Almost until the last second…
I was enjoying the film until the ending let me down a little. After being held hostage (in a good way!) to the tension created by the atmosphere and the story it comes to its conclusion in a predictable manner. A manner that has been done before. And that left my last ideas of the film as a little disappointing. Which is too bad because all in all it is a strong film and entertaining watch.
-Behind the Shutters
-Into the Lighthouse