By FOX43tv.com's Film Reviewer, Stephanie Cooke
U.S. Marshals Chuck and Teddy (Mark Ruffalo and LeonardoDiCaprio) land on an island off Massachusetts to investigate themysterious disappearance of a prisoner/patient who murdered her ownchildren. Shutter Island in the 1950's is home to AshecliffHospital -- a federal prison for the criminally insane. Chuck andTeddy soon find themselves in the middle of the perfect storm, bothfiguratively and literally.
A hurricane comes up on the island, forcing the G-men to staylonger than they would have liked. And the longer they stay, themore Chuck finds out about what really brought Teddy there. SeemsTeddy is on the hunt for the man he holds responsible for hiswife's death. The storm, the hospital and ex-Nazi psychiatrist (MaxVon Sydow), combine to bring on periodic flashbacks for Teddy --who we learn was a G.I. liberator at the Dachau concentration campin World War II. Teddy is soon suffering from migraines and has totake medicine from Ashecliff's chief physician played hauntinglywell by Ben Kingsley.
During interviews with patients and inmates, Teddy is convincedhe is close to finding who he came for and won't stop until hefinds him. Along the way he also becomes convinced that ShutterIsland is hiding secrets among them human trials for the HouseUn-American Activities committee. Teddy becomes blinded to realityand will stop at nothing to get to the lighthouse and prove itall.
The cinematography of Robert Richardson is superb. The gloomysetting is juxtaposed with the vivid Teddy nightmares featuring hisdead wife (Michelle WIlliams). The nightmares are beautifullyhorrific and some of the best scenes in the film. I was confused bythe odd cuts between the ferry wideshots and green screen closeups,but maybe no one else was. I just wondered why that hokeyness wasalright for Scorsese.
My main issue with the film is not the directing, it's thescript. Written by Laeta Kalogridis and based on the novel byDennis Lehane (of Mystic River fame), the plot itself isinteresting and most of the twists and turns are thrilling andsuspenseful. But from the beginning I wasn't given enough story tobelieve why on earth two Federal Marshals would be sent toinvestigate this patient disappearance. And when it came to theending, well, too many neatly tied bows -- tied right on screen.Instead of just ending with revelations in the lighthouse, we haveto sit through scenes we saw throughout seemingly just to reinforcewhy we should believe the ending. It's almost like someonesaid: "it won't be pop movie fare without these scenes." AndScorsese listened.
Shutter Island is long, the story is questionable, butnevertheless, it is worth seeing. Long review short: I will take analmost-great Scorsese picture any day over most common moviefare.
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