Movie Review: Shutter Island

Sunday morning my sweetie-wife and I ventured to a local multiplex and watched Shutter Island, the most recent collaboration between Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio. A collaboration that clearly is enjoyable to these two very talent men. Martin Scorsese has made a number of films that I have really enjoyed and the same can be said for Leonardo DiCaprio.

Shutter Island is set in 1956 and two federal Marshals, Teddy Daniels (DiCaprio) and his brand new partner Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo) have been sent to Shutter Island an asylum for the criminally insane to investigate the escape of a dangerous female prisoner.

From the start we know that Teddy Daniels is a man haunted by his past. He has visions of his dead wife and nightmares of the horrors he saw liberating Europe from the Nazis. His suspicions are aroused when the director of the facility,  Dr Cawley (Ben Kingley) seems less that forthright in assisting the two marshals. With added hints of a possible nazi war-criminal and scientist in the form of Dr Naehring (Max Von Sydow) and black budget experimentation and Daniels is determined to find tou what is being hidden no matter the cost.

This film is gorgeous in its photography. Scorsese deftly blurs the line between dream, hallucination, and atmosphere. This is a story about madness and the thin line between that and inspiration. DiCaprio is wonderful in the role. He adopts a Boston accent, but never so heavily that it distracts. He simply lives in the skin of his character and as an actor he is unafraid to look unglamorous on the screen. He’s willing to go in ugly dark areas both mentally and physically.

I will say that about half way through the film I suspected the twists that lay ahead. I’m unable to switch off my writer’s brain and so I worked out a lot of the plot before it was revealed. However, I will that the final line of the film pays off for the whole journey, and I did not see that line coming.

I was only jerked fully out of the story once and it was because of another movie, L.A. Confidential. In one scene Martin Scorsese used the song Wheel Of Fortune by Kay Starr and that song has been forever welded to LA Confidential for me.

This is worth watching.