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Shutter Island (2010) Poster

Goofs

Anachronisms 

When Teddy retrieves his tie from a break room after taking a shower, the pinball machine shown is a Gottlieb "Seven Seas" from 1959.
At the beginning of the film when Teddy and Chuck are driven up to the asylum gate for the first time they are riding in a small open truck. On the rear of the vehicle a modern white license plate can be clearly seen as it reflects the light. The truck should have sported a black 1953 Mass plate like the one seen later on the doctor's red sedan.

Character error 

A recording of Gustav Mahler's piano quartet plays in the SS officer's office at Dachau. Music by Jewish composers, like Mahler, was banned in Nazi Germany. No hard-line SS officer would have owned or listened to blacklisted Jewish music.
When the chief of the guards is giving Daniels his tour of the island, he says that the bluffs are tangles of poison ivy and live oak. The island is in Massachusetts but Southern Live Oaks don't grow north of southern Virginia.
After the storm blows out the electricity, Daniels comments about the "electronics" being knocked out. The electrical systems used to containing the patients likely had no "electronics", just electrical switches, solenoids, and other parts.

Continuity 

When Teddy is interviewing Mrs. Kearns she goes to pick up a glass of water. When she puts the glass to her mouth she isn't holding a cup at all. The next shot shows her putting it back on the table.
When Teddy talks to George Noyce, George's right hand grips the bars when the camera focuses on Teddy. When the camera focuses on George, his right hand is continuously scratching the top of his head.
When Teddy interviews the first patient, he scrawls in his notebook to the point of tearing the paper in one shot. The paper is intact in a later shot.
When Teddy and Chuck are on the cliff, Chuck reaches in his shirt pocket. From the opposite view, Chuck's hands at his side, and reaches into his shirt pocket again.
In Cawley's study, Daniels puts down his soda and ice on the table and emphatically shoves his hands in his pockets. In the few moments that the view changes to Cawley and Naehring and back again, and the glass is back in his hand.
When Teddy is talking to Dr. Naehring and Dr. Cawley in the office, Teddy's belt is sticking out in front of his jacket in one shot and behind his jacket in another, this happens several times.
Dr. Cawley gives Teddy a glass of water and aspirin for a migraine. With the glass in hand, Teddy drinks the water and downs the pill. In the next shot, the glass is on the table.
In the beginning of the movie Teddy and Chuck stand on deck of the ferry. Chuck puts a cigarette in his mouth. In the next shot Chuck again puts a cigarette in his mouth.
When Teddy talks to George Noyce in his cell, Noyce's right arm changes from being on his head to being on the bars between shots.
When Teddy is stuffing his tie into the gas tank, he looks up to see his wife. He then holds the tie and balls it in his hands and says he's sorry for ruining the tie. In the next shot the tie is all the way in the tank. He wouldn't have started to put it in the tank, take it out, and put it back.
Throughout the movie and in Teddy's dreams the phrase "Why you all wet, Baby" is used. However, in the final flashback by the lake Andrew uses the phrase "Baby, why you all wet".
When Teddy and Chuck are in the cemetery and the storm picks up, there is a small leaf stuck to Chuck's face. In the shot immediately after, the leaf is gone.
Throughout the film there are many "jump cuts" - shots that don't match. For instance in the overhead shot of the Marshalls and the doctor in the cell, each shot shows them in a different position within the room. When Teddy is riding in the jeep with the uniformed officer, the close shots as they converse show Teddy looking in a different direction. Scorsese may have intended these for tension effect.
At the beginning of the movie when Teddy and Chuck are standing on the deck of the boat. Teddy lights a cigarette and clearly has a wedding ring on his finger. The next shot shows him with his left hand resting on the rail with no ring. The following shot once again he is wearing the ring and is doing so through the rest of the film.

Errors in geography 

In a flashback, Teddy sees the entry gate of Dachau, with the words "Arbeit Macht Frei". It's actually the entry gate from Auschwitz, which was liberated by Soviet troops, and has the same words in a different style.
The film is set in the Boston harbor area however the geography is clearly that of the Pacific coast. The island is steep and rocky with predominant black volcanic rock especially in the bluff scenes.

Factual errors 

(at around 1 min) In the WWII slaughter scene, the soldiers fire in one barrage with their rifles aimed straight ahead, yet the guards only fall down dead as the camera tracks left to right.
At Dachau, Teddy looks intensely at human bodies piled on top of each other, clearly frozen due to severe cold. Dachau however was not liberated during winter, but on April 29, 1945. It is true that some fresh snow had fallen overnight, but photographs taken by American soldiers show it was just a hint of snow, not a blanket. Late April wasn't cold enough.
While talking to George Noyce, Teddy lights a match. The side of the bars facing the camera light up, although the match and Teddy are on the other side.

Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

Dr Crawley states that withdrawal from chlorpromazine causes tremor, which is commonly known as a side-effect of taking the drug. It is, however, also a symptom of stopping the medication suddenly, as are nausea, vomiting, dizziness, migraines, and hallucinations.

Revealing mistakes 

When they break into the chapel during the storm at the cemetery one of them say "Push!" (the door) and Teddy stumbles inside and falls on the floor. But the door in the background opens outwards.
When the US soldiers kill the Nazi guards, one Nazi, when falling after being shot, props himself up on another dead man by placing his elbow on him and putting his head on his hand.
When Teddy first brings his drowned daughter out of the water and turns her over face-up, you can see her lips move. A few seconds later, her arm moves by itself as he is holding her.

Spoilers 

The goof items below may give away important plot points.

Anachronisms 

After Teddy knocks out the guard at the lighthouse, he climbs the rocks to the door. A plastic lid from a Styrofoam cup is on the rocks. The lid did not exist in the 1950s.

Continuity 

Towards the end when he runs into Dr. Naehring and takes his syringe you see him holding it by his shoulder, near the doctor's neck, from the shots behind him. When the camera is on his face, you can tell both of his arms are lower. It changes back and forth between shots.

Continuity 

When Teddy brings his daughter out of the water, her hands are by her side. In the next shot, her hands are folded on her chest.

Crew or equipment visible 

When Teddy first sees his daughter lying face down in the lake, and wades through the water to get her, a hand is holding the girl's leg. It disappears as Teddy approaches.

Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

When Teddy interrogates Bridget Kearns, Chuck brings her a glass of water, but when she is filmed drinking she has no glass in her hand. In the next scene she puts the empty glass on the table; however, she is putting the glass down with her left hand while she was using her right hand when pretending to drink. The imitation of drinking is likely to be intentional revealing of the "role play" performed for Teddy, than a mistake on the part of the actress, imitating drinking when there was a perfectly good glass on the table.

Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

After the interrogated woman drinks her glass of water, she places the empty glass on the table. When she stands up and leaves, you can clearly see that the glass is half full. However, this is a clue to advise Teddy and the viewer that everything is produced by Teddy's mind.

Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

Teddy attempts to revive the children with CPR, which was officially "invented" in 1956, 2 years after the movie is set and 4 years after the children drown. However, CPR existed in many forms from as early as the mid-1700's. In August 1767 a few wealthy and civic-minded citizens in Amsterdam gathered to form the 'Society for Recovery of Drowned Persons', which within 4 years claimed that 150 persons were saved by their recommendations, including respirations in to the victim's mouth, either using a bellows or with a mouth-to-mouth method (mouth-to-mouth or mouth-to-nostril respiration is described including the advice that "a cloth or handkerchief may be used to render the operation less indelicate"). As a combat veteran it conceivable that Teddy witnessed such techniques.

Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

When Rachel had blood all over her and three dead children at her feet, asking Teddy to give her a hand, the scene cuts a couple of times to Teddy's face with a cigarette in his mouth. These scenes are being played backwards, with smoke going into his cigarette rather than coming from it. This is a technique used by the filmmakers in editing for effect. It is deliberate and used to create a dreamlike atmosphere. Another use of reverse motion is seen when Dolores walks backward away from the lake in a flashback to the lake.

Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

There are several clues and intentional continuity errors throughout the film that foreshadow the ending. This includes Bridget Kearns' drink of water disappearing between shots (she drinks from an empty hand), a cardigan appearing briefly on 'Rachel' (which is later worn by the other 'Rachel') and lines from Edward/Andrew's dreams being repeated (such as "Why are you wet, baby?"). These techniques are also used in his dreams showing a similarity between what he perceives as a dream and what he perceives as real.

Revealing mistakes 

When Teddy brings his murdered children out of the water, one of the boys is clearly holding on to him as they make their way to shore.

Revealing mistakes 

When Teddy brings the children out of the water and lays them down on the ground, you can clearly see the little girl moving her head.

See also

Trivia | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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