Saturday, May 22, 2010

Shutter Island: Movie Review

A genre-defining film.

Martin Scorsese has done it again. Shutter Island is one of those movies that is just so well-made that the audience completely buys into the fragile madness and creepy hostility that is on display. From its homages to thrill-rides from the 1950s, to the doom established from the score, and every thrilling turn in between, Scorsese has masterfully turned an entertaining story of paranoia and suspense into a work of art. Shutter Island rewards its audience with a suspenseful thriller for the ages. 2010

Directed by: Martin Scorsese

Screenplay by: Laeta Kalogridis

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo

Shutter Island is a psychiatric hospital, a guarded fortress on a remote island. It has creepy guards, creepy patients, and a creepy history. A woman drowned her three children there, and now she has gone missing. Send in federal marshal Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his new partner Chuck (Mark Ruffalo), and we’ve got a recipe for broken men with love gone bad, haunting flashbacks, a twisting story of an unsolved crime, and paranoia up the yin yang.

Cinematographer Robert Richradson has created a visually intriguing feast for the eyes. When a storm rages outside, there’s a strong sense of claustrophobia from the uncertainty on the inside. There are some beautiful wide shots of the island which helps give the sense that someone is being watched. This is a movie where fear, paranoia, death, or even resolve, could all be just around the corner. A corner you’ll feel simultaneously like not looking around and needing to find out what lies ahead.

The present-time story is kept simplistic enough, never goes for the absurd, but also allows for an ending you probably won’t see coming. The character of Teddy Daniels, on the other hand, is far from simplistic. One of DiCaprio’s most fascinating character portrayals, Teddy is haunted by past traumas (which keep forcing their way to the present) including his late wife (Michelle Williams), and is surrounded by a untrustworthy psychiatrists, certifiably-insane patients and a new partner he doesn’t know anything about.

Shutter Island never goes for the cheap thrills, you’ll find yourself on the edge of your seat without ever getting needlessly scared. It uses everything at its disposal from breathtaking scenery, to detailed laid-out shots, and to actors at their finest to completely engross you in the film. I loved every minute of it – entertaining and technical filmmaking, controlled chaos, and a tightrope of suspense and paranoia. A film for the masses and everybody else.
Best of 2010


The Town (2010) - Thriller with suspense built from the characters.