Film Review: Shutter Island

Yesterday I went to the cinema to watch Martin Scorsese’s latest film ‘Shutter Island’ starring Leonardo DiCaprio.

I viewed the film having known nothing about it in advance, apart from that it was directed by the great Scorsese. This being my only previous knowledge in regards to the film itself, I was already expecting something fantastic. And wow, it sure was something.

Set in 1954, Teddy Daniels (DiCaprio) is a US Marshal assigned to investigate the disappearance of a patient from Boston’s Shutter Island Ashecliffe Hospital. The film opens with Teddy and his new partner Chuck (Mark Ruffalo) on a ferry making their way toward the island. I found this unusual, as the audience is thrown straight into the heart of the story almost instantly. I only realised at the end, as to why it was done.

Marshal Daniels been pushing for an assignment on the island for personal reasons, but it isn’t long before he suspects that he has been brought there as part of a twisted plot by hospital doctors whose radical treatments range from unethical to illegal to downright evil.

Evidence and clues begin to appear but not before our hero seems riddled by psychosis himself. “You act like all this madness is contagious” Daniels says to one of the guards. The audience may question this themselves; after watching this I sure did. He soon uncovers the tip of the iceberg and it’s not only painfully intimate with his own past but also a mass conspiracy. The Nazis had concentration camps and the Americans have Shutter Island.

Teddy’s in-depth investigating skills soon provide a promising lead, but the hospital refuses him access to records he suspects would break the case wide open. As a hurricane cuts off communication with the mainland, more dangerous criminals escape in the confusion, and the puzzling, improbable clues multiply. Before long Teddy begins to doubt everything – his memory, his partner, even his own sanity.

Scorsese is a genuine master of film; his specialty in the past has been more character-based rather than on story-telling, however this is a fresh balance of both. It’s a mix of noir and thriller, and it does not disappoint.

Having said this, there are critical points to make, as there are with all films. There are times when the plot gets extremely confusing; times where the audience is asking “Is this a dream or reality?” It’s one of those movies where you don’t want to miss a couple of minutes for a toilet break or you will become lost and not know where you are in the plot. Another point to mention is the use of overdramatic music, especially in the opening section where our two “heroes” approach the island. It’s just unnecessary and makes it seem as if you are being forced to find it scary.

To conclude, the plot surely has its twists and turns and I won’t spoil it for you, but the ending is definitely worth the wait!

9/10

The trailer can be found here.

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