Shutter Island

Year 2010

Leonardo DiCaprio   as  Teddy Daniels
Mark Ruffalo as Chuck Aule
Ben Kingsley as Dr. Cawley
Max von Sydow as Dr. Naehring
Director - Martin Scorsese
Screenwriter - Laeta Kalogridis  
  - Anne Wighton

Martin Scorcese returns to the director's chair! Whoop-whoop! Is it a crime drama? Nope. Is it a supernatural tingler? Nope. Is it a scary movie? Nope. Is it a psycholigical thriller? Nope.

Has it been done before? Yep. Done better? Yep. Cite some examples! Well, let's see there's Jacobs Ladder, Fight Club, Girl on a Swing, Lost Highway, and the silent classic The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari for starters. Even A Clockwork Orange does a better job with the psychological torments of an individual than Shutter Island

The premise of the movie is that a prisoner has escaped from an asylum on an island...Shutter Island. The protagonist Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a Federal Marshal who arrives to track her down. But, there's a puzzle on the island and it's up to Teddy to find out what's happening.

I have to admit that I watched the movie to the end. You see there are four possible outcomes and I had to find out which one the director went with. Was it

  1. The people running the asylum are crazy and Teddy will end up as a patient against his will.
  2. The people running the asylum are crazy and Teddy will end up escaping and exposing the joint.
  3. Teddy is a patient who's crazy.
  4. It's all a dream or nightmare

I won't give away the ending. But waiting for it is more of an exercise in getting a pay-off after spending two hours of your life watching the thing than it is sitting on the edge of your seat anxiously anticipating the outcome. Because you know that there's a twist ending.

Unlike the work of M. Night Shamaylein, there are multiple possible solutions to this movie. But, like a Sham-a-lam-a-ding-dong vehicle, who cares? (Sixth Sense and Unbreakable were good movies. Signs kept me watching to the disappointing end. After does he keep working as an A-List director in Harpywood?)

So, anyway, you know that there's a twist. Why? Because otherwise the continuity gaffes would just keep piling up without an explanation. What's a Marshal doing looking for someone on an island? Someone escaped. She's on an island. It's not like it's Australia. Bring her back with the asylum staff.

Why was this set in the 1940s? To show flash backs of Teddy's experience at the Nazi concentration camps which have nothing to do with the movie? Is this some sort of subtle insight into the man? Or is it a way to pad running time? Or a paean to Hitcock's McGuffin?

Again, why the 1940s? Equally numbing atrocities can be referenced within the last decade. Maybe because DiCaprio looks best in 1940s attire? Remember The Aviator when he looked spiffy as Howard Hughes?

Someone remarked to me that he didn't believe any of the story solely because the boat ride over wasn't convincing. I thought that the first meeting with the guards was incredible.

Is Teddy running or not running from people? Is he uncovering anything at all? I thought there was supposed to be some supernatural tie-in!

In the end, the production value is excellent and the acting is top notch throughout. Those are the only things that make this worth recommending. So, if you want to watch some fluff with very little tension, then this won't be a disappointment. Just remember that the pay-off is trivial compared to the build-up.

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