19
Feb
2010
Review: Shutter Island
Shutter Island
Sam
Martin Scorsese's newest film, Shutter Island, is certainly a departure from his previous work. The movie takes place on the mysterious island off the coast of Boston. US Marshall, Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his new partner Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo) are sent to the hospital for the criminally insane to investigate the inexplicable disappearance of a patient. With help of one of the head psychiatrists (Ben Kingsley) the two start their hunt. As Daniels and Aule get deeper into their case strange things start occurring making Daniels think there is more to the island than meets the eye and allows for a peek back at the dark spot that is America's past history treating the mentally ill. Daniels fights with his own past while trying to figure out the case on the island in what turns out to be Scorsese's most surreal film of his career.

Martin Scorsese is most commonly associated with the gangster film. Mostly set in New York and recently with this film and The Departed, Boston. Moving away from the urban environment, the Oscar-winning director thrives and manages to keep "Gimme Shelter" far away from the rocky coasts of Shutter Island. In many respects, getting away from the city gave Scorsese an opportunity to play and he took full advantage. The film constantly conjures up images from Kubrick films of past, namely The Shining. So much so, Teddy Daniels could have easily been played by a young Jack Nicholson back in the day. Scorsese's films tend to find their beauty in the grit like the smokey dank streets of Taxi Driver and the black and white classicism of Raging Bull. Shutter Island is no different, except here Scorsese gives the audience an other-worldly type grit that can only spill out of the mind of a true master. Many people will be surprised at the stark beauty Scorsese has to offer.

In addition to beautiful visuals, the film sports a top notch cast with a number of cameos a cinephile can really salivate over. Just a glance at the cast list, one can tell that this would at least be a well acted film. Everyone delivered a typically strong performance though DiCaprio's Boston accent was a bit distracting at times, but then again, it's a Boston accent. At the end of the day, DiCaprio did a stellar job at holding the film on his back. It's no wonder Scorsese has made him his go-to leading man. Besides DiCaprio, Kingsley, and Ruffalo, such great actors as Particia Clarkson and Michelle Williams appear along with a handful of others that will bring a smile to the faces of many film fans.

The film is not without its faults as minor as they are. The handling of the story, at times, is a bit ridiculous and does not seem to give the audience as much credit as they deserve in following the story. Also there are no any really big surprises in the film. For anyone who has seen the trailer (and by this point how can anyone have not seen an ad?) the plot points are to be expected. A good thing about the film though it really is more about the journey rather than just the resolution. It's a shame the film was kicked back a few months because it surely would have gotten its fair share of Oscar nods and likely knocked off some ridiculous choices (*cough*Blind Side*cough*). Hopefully academy voters will not forget about this film as it will undoubtedly be amongst the best 2010 has to offer.

A-
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