Shutter Island

7 Apr

Title: Shutter Island
Year: 2010
Director: Martin Scorsese
Writers: Laeta Kalogridis, adapting from the Dennis Lehane novel
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, Michelle Williams, Emily Mortimer, Max von Sydow, Jackie Earle Haley, Patricia Clarkson
MPAA Rating: R, disturbing violent content, language and some nudity
Runtime: 138 min
Major Awards: 1 NBR Award
IMDb Rating: 8.1
Rotten Tomatoes: 68%

Shutter Island is minor Scorsese, but, to me, minor Scorsese still is pure genius. Plus, I like Shutter Island because it shows Mr. Scorsese, probably my favorite living director, in a way we have never seen him before: completely loose.

That’s right, Mr. Scorsese is completely unrestrained at the helm of his latest, a personal homage of his to this genre which provides some genuinely nice thrills, a bit of mind-fuck and terrific performances by an outstanding cast headed by his go-to-guy Leonardo DiCaprio.

I’m having trouble typing this review because I feel like I have so much to say about this film but I don’t know how to start, or how to say it, if you know a bit about Martin Scorsese you’ll know he’s quite seriously the ultimate film buff, the guy knows absolutely everything about anything film-related and has probably seen every film ever done, and this is serious stuff he does with Shutter Island, he represents this genre extremely well, he stacks every single cliché the genre has on top of the other, and he does it in a way that it doesn’t seem cliché, but in a way that seems genius, Scorsese genius.

The music, the frights, the acting, everything is outstanding. Shutter Island, we are told, is a prison for the criminally insane, we travel there with U.S. marshal Teddy Daniels, the Leo DiCaprio character, and his partner Chuck Aule, the Mark Ruffalo character. They are there to investigate the disappearance of a child murderer, and once we’re there with them, the film doesn’t let us go. The prisoners, the staff at the prison, our two federal agents themselves, and especially the surroundings we’re in are worked to utmost perfection by Scorsese, who is completely crazy in this one, and he creates a tremendous noir film that, even though right now is nowhere close to his best films, I have the feeling that, when all is said and done, will be a really important piece of his cinematographic canon.

Mr. Scorsese plays with our minds like crazy, he makes us feel with the music, with the performances, with the way he makes Mr. Kingsley and Mr. von Sydow work which is so effective, with the way he and his long-time editor (and my favorite editor at that) Thelma Schoonmaker have arranged the film, this is a mindtrip for the ages. I read a couple of pieces in newspapers in which Scorsese and his actors told about how he showed them classic films which he wanted them to think of while shooting, that’s how good the guy is.

You may be reading this and thinking it’s a piece in which I just throw praise at the master that is Martin Scorsese, and it is, I guess, he does an homage to a genre with Shutter Island, I’ll give an homage to him with my review of it. The actors are also outstanding though, that’s to be noted, especially DiCaprio who always excels under his mentor.

Now, many reviews I’ve read, and pretty much every single acquaintance I have who’s seen the film has complained at one level or the other about the ending, and I get why that may be, I fortunately don’t feel like that, I mean, I don’t really understand why Marty (I feel like a friend calling him that, sue me, anyone can dream) went there, and I don’t think he does himself, but I do get it in a really bizarre way, and I feel like that about the whole film really, it’s a strange film, but it’s a film done exceedingly well by a master who decided to pay tribute to a great genre using terrific actors who delivered for him.

Grade: A-


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