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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.
10 out of 10
There is one line of dialogue, right at the end of Shutter Island
before the credits roll, that elevates the emotion of the film and
makes it much more powerful. For those of you, like me, who read and
enjoyed the novel before seeing the film and felt that the trailers and
advertisements for this film were leading you to believe there wouldn't
be any narrative surprises in store, think again! Scorsese's film
features that one brief piece of dialogue at the films conclusion that
results in an entirely different perception of the final act. The rest
of the film, however, is very faithful to Dennis Lehane's already great
Shutter Island represents exactly what one should hope for when seeing a novel being interpreted to film. While it certainly does the source material justice, it also adds small changes that make for a distinctive experience. Even if you've read the novel multiple times, you'll feel like you're reading the book for the first time again while watching. Scorsese perfectly recreates the menacing atmosphere of the island on film. Every location is foreboding and drenched with hints of unseen danger in dark corners. The lighthouse, the caves, the civil war fort housing "the most dangerous patients," and the island itself--every locale seems large yet claustrophobic and isolated at the same time.
I often experience claustrophobia myself and there are certain films that really capitalize on that personal fear and make it more relevant and eerie to me. Neil Marshall's The Descent was one such picture, and this is another. An confined island is a terrific horror location and it comes with its own type of fear. The utter desperation to escape from a persistent and confined nightmare is something Teddy (Dicaprio) is receiving in high doses, and so does the audience.
As with Scorsese and DiCaprio's previous collaborations, this is a movie that must be seen. Here they explore the horror/thriller genre with gravitas, with no small part played by Laeta Kalogridis in supplying the screenplay. While most modern pictures of its kind lack character or any real sense of suspense, Shutter Island doesn't go for cheap gags. I concur with Ebert when he says one of the key elements to this film is that it releases its tension through suspense instead of mindless action sequences. That's not to knock a well-deserved frenetic scene of violence every once in awhile--it works to the advantage of some films like Evil Dead II and Planet Terror--but had Teddy and Chuck gone running and gunning through the facility's faculty, the mood this movie keeps in check so well would have been lost.
However, that mood isn't sacrificed and "spooky" is punched up to full force. A considerable amount of that spooky is generated by a "best of" collection of actors that have mastered the art of creepy: Ben Kingsley, Jackie Earle Haley, Ted Levine, and Max Von Sydow just to name a few. Had Tom Noonan been thrown in the cast as well, my "Top Five People I Would Not Want to Be Left in the Dark with, Especially in a Room with No Doors or Windows" list would have been completely exhausted. On that note, is it just me or has Sydow mysteriously not aged since The Exorcist? Was there a secret pact made between Lucifer and Father Merrin? Whether he sold his soul or not, he's quite ominous in every single scene he is present in. All of this great talent in front of the camera doesn't mean anything though if you don't have a faithful orchestrator behind it. Luckily you have Scorsese leading the lens and he points the movie in the right direction, even if this isn't among his very best works. His style works amazingly with suspense laden projects and at times he even seems to channel Hitchcock and Kubrick, though there's always something distinctively Scorsese about the presentation. I found the editing in the opening scene, with Chuck and Teddy approaching Shutter Island, to be very odd and frantic, though I think the audience will know why Scorsese displayed the scene the way he did after completing the film.
With a body of work so impressive, Shutter Island is among captivating company. The good news is that Shutter Island carves out a place of its own in his resume. While no Goodfellas or Raging Bull or Taxi Driver, I have no problem placing Shutter side by side The Last Temptation of Christ and Bringing Out the Dead. The cinematography is bright and gorgeous. Scorsese doesn't rely on the over-grainy, ugly presentation that most modern horror or suspense-riddled thrillers rely on. He uses lush, bright color during daytime and dream sequences to flush out a distinct feeling of terror.
Shutter Island isn't just a pretty face, its also got a great story to boot and this is why I've been anticipating the film for so long. As mentioned earlier, I've been exposed and digested the source material myself before seeing the movie. I was worried the trailers for the film were giving away too much through their spots on television and on the silver screen, but Scorsese has added enough to the film for the story to feel fresh even for those "in the know." You are transferred in the films paranoia and phobia once the camera pans through the mental facilities open doors. Lehane is one of the luckiest authors on the planet to have his work adapted to the big screen by talents such as Eastwood and Scorsese, but his work is brilliant and deserving of such treatment.
At the risk of spoiling plot points for potential viewers who have not read the book, I'll leave a Related Recommendations section concealed in "Spoiler" tags. Discussing this story at any length can be quite revealing.
I just saw Shutter Island this evening, just prior to its American release. I have to say this film was full of intrigue. Prior to viewing this film I had built a preconceived notion of what this thriller was going to be like because I was fooled yet again by good marketing when watching the trailer. This is probably not the movie for your average film-goer who wants an easy plot line to follow and little thought required. This movie does challenge the viewer physchologically and definitely holds your attention all the way through. For someone who was never much of a Leonardo fan, his performance is brilliant, so much range to his character. In fact all of the acting in this film is excellent. The directing is probably the best quality to this film. I always enjoy watching a film that is as unpredicatable as this film and where the director has turned the plot line on to his viewer.
Really, Scorsese should just give it away for anyone. The man is one of the most brilliant directors of our time. Anyway, let me get to the actual movie; I just saw it at a early screening and have to write this while I'm thinking about how stunning it was. Shutter Island is certainly not a typical film, not even for Scorsese. It is a different take for the director, and he does it, as he does every film, perfectly, so much as to be in his own league of film-making. I don't want to give anything away, but I will say this: Shutter Island was completely unexpected, and a great start to 2010. It had all the components of a great film, and then some. The acting is spot on from every character; none of it seems forged or out of place. The script is fantastic; it has one of the most intriguing plots I have seen in a while (exception being Tarantino's Basterds). Everything, down to the set's lighting, was perfectly executed. I will say that not everyone will like this; Shutter Island, again, isn't your typical movie. To those, though, who do choose to see this film, be ready for a compelling, gripping, thought-provoking experience, so much so that you might think to see it again for further clarity (I know I will; it was so entertaining and my mind was blown!). Don't be surprised if you see this at the next Oscars...
From the look of the trailer, Martin Scorsese's "Shutter Island" looks
more like a horror film
This is a dangerous place where isolation
rules under fascist control. A U.S Marshall is sent to an asylum to
investigate a missing patient but discovers so much more. A demon? A
ghost? Something more? Is this going to be as disappointing as I think
I was skeptical walking into the theater, wondering if this twist could hold water. The film starts with Teddy Daniels and his new partner, Chuck, standing on a ferry. They talk about their assignment. What's suspect here is that there is no additional development. We are bam, smack right into the story without so much as an opening montage. All that we see is the men smoking a couple cigarettes. Though this is what begins as momentous development. As our hero smokes we that this isn't the glorified top lit smoking of a beauty or that of a sophisticated and confident gangster. We see that this is a harsher character with poor posture, someone who doesn't sleep well, someone with a deep past
They are greeted at the gate by guards whose attitudes' seem immediately suspect. Soon we meet Dr Crawley, a seemingly complex and modern man who runs the asylum. However, he soon turns uncooperative with the investigation. Inmates and staff are hiding something but what? Everyone here seems off. Evidence and clues begin to appear but not before our hero seems riddled by psychosis himself. "You act like all this madness is contagious." Daniels says to the guard. Is it? Soon we begin to wonder, too, but not before he uncovers the tip of the iceberg and it's not only painfully intimate with his own past but also a mass conspiracy. The Nazis had concentration camps and the Americans have Shutter Island.
Though, it doesn't stop here, but to say anything else would do the story injustice Kingsley is in his finest role in years. Similarly, DiCaprio reaches new levels. Amongst others Elias Koteas, Ted Levine, Michelle Williams, all play small but wonderful roles. Robert Richardson captures a world all of its own.
While Scorsese is a master of film I'd say that his specialty has been more character than story. This is a fresh balance of both. It's a mix of noir and thriller. It's only sort of a horror movie and could be compared to "The Shining" but it makes it look like it's a one trick pony.
All this praise being said it's not for everyone. The story is complex. It takes some attention. At times it's a bit bleak and dire. Of course it all makes a little less sense when you actually think about it but then again that's film. There are a couple of moments where the story gets lost within itself. Things become a bit too complicated. At this point you might begin to lose faith in its viscosity, but don't worry because the story has you right where its put you.
Finally, a horror/thriller that actually, genuinely scares the crap out
of you. Not because it has fancy villains in masks or sadistic buckets
of gore throughout. No, it scares you because it messes with your mind.
Most will hate this movie, they don't like their brains being tampered
with. I loved it. It's what we needed after all those gory R-rated and
sometimes lame-duck PG-13 horror crap-fests.
The horror/thriller genre has been raped lately, with gore and scantily clad- women replacing the noir and terror that Alfred Hitchcock perfected in the '50s and '60's. Here director Martin Scorsese delivers in full blast, crafting a thriller in his own unique vision. The atmosphere throughout the movie is tense and unsettling. Slow as it may be, but it is crucial to the movie and it's genuinely gripping. Your attention WILL not be lost. The scenery is beautiful and finely done with no excessive lighting, grain or darkness. The editing by Thelma Schoonmaker is fluid and pitch-perfect, and never makes the film lose focus. The movie is based on a book by Dennis Lehane and is packed with twists and turns that will leave you breathless and uneasy. The movie cranks the breathlessness and uneasiness up to the power of 5. The music is also perfectly suited with the scenes. There is sometimes no music during suspenseful moments, and sometimes the music makes the scene even more disturbing and memorable. Alfred Hitchcock's noirish thriller style is back with a vengeance, here to teach today's moviegoers the REAL meaning of suspense and horror.
All the actors in the movie are in top-form. Once again, you can't go wrong with a Leonardo DiCaprio/Martin Scorsese collaboration. As the protagonist, we the audience are thrust into his shoes and we are about as confused and scared as his character is, we feel what he feels. It becomes a psychological trip that poses many, many questions about oneself, that to discuss them here would spoil the entire movie. There are some flashbacks in the movie, but all of them are important clues to DiCaprio's character. DiCaprio gives a stunning performance, once again tempting the Academy to give him another Best Actor nomination. DiCaprio gives a vivid portrayal of a vulnerable, haunted and ultimately terrified man. Apart from DiCaprio there's really not much I can say about the supporting cast, because they are all also terrific. Ben Kingsley; Mark Ruffalo; Michelle Williams; Max Von Sydow; Jackie Earle Haley; Emily Mortimer; Patricia Clarkson; Ted Levine; Elias Koteas; John Carroll Lynch. All of them.
In short, this is a psychological and frightening masterpiece that will make you scared, will make you think, and will make you seek psychological help. This is one of the best films of the year. See it, go in with an open mind and prepare to be blown away.
Overall value: 9/10.
I saw this and I knew what to expect going in to the film as I had already read about half of the book but never got the chance to finish it. But I was surprised at how faithful the film was to the original material.The directing was also masterfully done and pretty cool I saw some cool camera tricks I hadn't seen since Martin Scorsese directed Bringing Out The Dead, Martin Scorsese did one great job and everyone was top notch especially Ben Kingsley and DiCaprio and I never though I would jump out of fright especially in a Scorsese film but I did. All in all a solid thriller with a good story and some great performances and for me it's the best film I've seen in 2010 so far.
Martin Scorsese has done it again. He pays attention to every detail in
this film, making "Shutter Island" one of the best suspense thrillers
of all time.
Visually intriguing, simplistic and absolutely phenomenal. The story is kept simplistic enough so it doesn't get absurd, but allows for an ending which you probably won't see coming. The film doesn't go for cheap thrills, so although you will be on the edge of your seat you won't get needlessly scared.
The film uses everything at its disposal from breathtaking scenery, to detailed laid-out shots, and to actors at their finest to completely engross you in the film. I loved every minute of it and highly recommend it to everyone. Even if you're not a usual fan of the genre, this film has so much more to it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Last year, I lamented the fact that Martin Scorsese's long-await
psychological thriller "Shutter Island" was relegated to the dead movie
month of February, especially when it was receiving serious Oscar buzz
at the time.
Rumors floated about that the studio and Scorsese had come to a rift, that Marty wanted too much money, that he was being punished for being the most arrogant yet most talented director in the biz. Yep, as these stories flew, I sided 100 percent with Scorsese and felt he was being persecuted - once again.
Then I saw "Shutter Island." Now I know what the fuss wasn't all about.
If ever a motion picture needed to be seen in February this is it. As difficult to watch as it is to review, "Shutter Island" is a psychotropic mish-mash of "Shawshank Redemption" meets "Vertigo" meets "The Sixth Sense" meets "Inglourious Basterds" meets "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," all neatly wrapped up as an ode to Alfred Hitchcock but coming off as simply a nod to Brian DePalma.
Littered with weird visions, wild hallucinations, back-breaking plot twists and - unfortunately - scene after scene of dead children, this movie laps itself in confusion and covers itself with a thick layer of obfuscation leaving one shaking one's head and wondering just what the point of the entire enterprise was.
Now, no doubt, those who love this film will toss about accusations of the stupidity of this scribbler, that he has no clue about the nuances of the Dennis Lehane novel from which it came; or the depth of the emotional screenplay adaptation by Laeta Kalogridis (whose last major screenplay was the wonderful, historically-accurate "Pathfinder").
That being written, to me, this movie had so much potential - all of which was smashed to bits by heavy-handed direction, a punch-in-the-face musical score, dead-end plot lines and a mystery that Nancy Drew herself would have found far too easy to solve. Then, after the endless maze of twists and turns we're forced go through, the movie takes a lame swipe at McCarthyism - where was Charlie McCarthy when I needed him?
It's 1954 and U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels and his new partner, Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo, "Where the Wild Things Are") arrive at a creepy federal asylum for the criminally insane off the coast of Massachuttes. Evidently, a young woman prisoner - who drowned her three children - escaped and they have been called in to investigate.
I write "evidently" because nothing is as it seems in this picture, but one will get used to that. Treated as intruders by the bellowing guards and like idiots by the high-toned doctors (Ben Kingsley and Max Von Sydow), the two marshals carry on their investigation, even though a "Jurassic Park"-like hurricane is threatening to overwhelm the entire island.
In the meantime, Teddy is having bizarre hallucinogenic nightmares featuring his wife, Delores (Michelle Williams, Oscar nominee for "Brokeback Mountain"), who perished in a fire set by a guy who is housed in this very facility. In these dreams, Delores keeps trying to give Teddy clues about the film, but he refuses to listen.
He also relates how, as a U.S. soldier liberating one of the Nazi death camps, he and others lined up German soldiers against the wall and machine-gunned them. I'm not sure why these scenes were in the movie, since they had nothing to do with the plot - then again, NOTHING in this movie had ANYTHING to do with the plot.
Teddy even tracks down an old college friend, George Noy (Jackie Earle Haley, Jr., "Little Children"), now housed in the dreaded C Ward; and later meets a facility doctor hiding out in a cave raving about the Cold War, mind-control experiments and brainwashing techniques. But like everything else, these story-lines, too, come to dead ends.
We now not only begin to question Teddy's sanity, but our own as the film takes even more hairpin turns until arriving at the single most disappointing conclusion of any Scorsese film ever made, especially in the light of Teddy's last bold declaration, which I was hoping (against all hope) would rectify and redeem his character, as well as the film.
Fans of the director will no doubt appreciate this effort and I do, too, in some respects. The acting, especially DiCaprio, Williams and Kingsley, are without flaw. The newly-hot Haley, Jr. huff and puffs admirably during his two-minute screen time, Von Sydow is appropriately German and Ruffalo basically reacts to Teddy the entire time.
The cinematography of Robert Richardson ("Inglourious Basterds," "The Aviator," "Kill Bill, Volumes 1 and 2") is always amazing, as well. His gritty, creepy, atmospheric view of the daunting Gothic castle-like structure takes on a life of its own.
It's a shame that Scorsese had to litter it all with dead kids, half-hearted nowhere scenes and incidental characters which turn out to mean absolutely nothing. I'm not an idiot and I don't want my films fed to me like a toddler in a high chair, but it doesn't hurt to walk away from a movie feeling one has gotten SOMETHING out of it.
Is that too much to ask?
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
First, I know many who read this will not take the time to research
what I'm saying to see that it is true and further, many won't have the
ability to see it even if they did. So, I know this review will be
thumbed down by those who don't like the hard truths in life but this
movie (or should I say novel by Dennis Lehane) was a nice piece of
plagiarism based upon a 1920 silent film called The Cabinet of Dr.
The same basic plot exists in both as well as the exact same twist ending. The lead character investigates an insane asylum and tries to put clues together to figure out the mystery surrounding the place but as we near the end, we learn that the lead character isn't there to investigate anything. He's an inmate there who has invented much of what he was investigating as part of his coping mechanism.
Shutter Island would have been a good movie if it hadn't ripped off The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari so blatantly. Lehane obviously knew that the old movie was in the public domain but instead of telling the viewers that it was based on that movie, they just pass it off as his (and/or Scorseesi's idea). That, my friends, is the definition of plagiarism.
I don't recommend this whatsoever for this reason. It is a shame and Lehane should be called on it but who will do it? Too much $ to be made reheating the old dishes and calling them made from scratch.
Watch The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (it's on y o u t u b e if you want to compare the two and see that what I'm saying is 100% correct).
I almost never write reviews but this time, I had to.
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