Shutter Island. A film that will divide the film community. A film that will leave many upset, and hating it. A film that has already completely split the critics. A movie that messes with you. And no one likes to be messed with. And that is exactly where it exceeds. Think I’m contradicting myself?
Shutter Island is one of the most well crafted psychological thrillers to come by since Silence Of The Lambs. And it is no coincidence both were brilliantly written novels. Shutter Island is adapted by a book written by Dennis Lehane (wrote gone baby, gone and mystic river). It is a book filled with twists and turns, that will leave the reader dizzy. And, that is what it’s film counterpart does to the fullest. Martin Scorsese helms the director chair, in a movie where he is more free than any before. This is Scorsese at his most unrestrained.
Marty takes what he has learned from the great films of the past and puts it into his. The master of suspense Alfred Hitchcock’s influence is everywhere you look in this film. And it is no wonder, considering Scorsese even showed one of his greatest works to the crew: Vertigo. And many of those ideas are present in Shutter Island; the cliff scenes scream Hitchcock. This is a film that creeps and crawls, and is filled with dark corners. And it is all heightened by the coming storm that looms over the island. This is classic film noir.
The story follows Teddy, a federal Marshall, and his partner Chuck (Played by DiCaprio and Ruffulo). They go to this mysterious island enveloped in fog to investigate an escape. From these opening scenes, Marty has set up a dark and creepy premise.
Almost the whole movie incorporates this story as Teddy desperately tries to find the truths he seeks. Teddy is shown as a scared man; a man of war and violence as portrayed in various flashbacks. These will go on to be increasingly important as the story progresses. We follow Teddy on his quest, through every dark corridor and perilous confrontations. Slowly, we are given pieces to the puzzle, but the audience does not even realize it. For we, like Teddy, are blind. For the moment at least. It is because of this that the thrilling conclusion will leave many blindsided. But, you see, that is where this thriller becomes something more. We as the audience are put in Teddy’s shoes, and we feel all the things he feels. It is a complete assault on the senses, and it works beautifully.
This is a film you must watch carefully. That is another thing that sets this apart, it is a horror film that makes you actually think. In this day and age, I’m not surprised some found it terrible esp. after their brains have been turned to mush by these new gore filled horror films. Scorsese’s ultimate goal here is to wake you up. And trust me, you probably wont like it.
This is also a film I would recommend seeing a second time. In fact, it is even better the second time. All those pieces of that puzzle you didn’t catch the first time, you will the second. You see, we as the audience are first put in the shoes of Teddy. The second? Well, without giving too much away, lets just say you are put in someones else’s shoes entirely during the second viewing.
Shutter Island. A film that will make you question your own sanity. A film that will leave you breathless. A film that has re-ignited the thriller genre. A film that will leave you, and the main character, searching for answers.