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March 1, 2010 | by  | in Film | [ssba]

Shutter Island


I have always been a fan of Martin Scorsese. Though his forte has always been the crime genre, he seems capable of doing anything authentically. So to read around this time last year of him teaming up with Leonardo DiCaprio again to do a mystery thriller in a mental institution immediately got me excited. After many delays, Shutter Island has finally been released and I’m relatively pleased to announce that I wasn’t excited for nothing.

Anyone who has seen a psychological thriller in the last ten years should see the ending coming a mile off. But the beauty in this film lies in the journey, not the destination. DiCaprio is a superbly engaging protagonist, continuing the tradition for Scorsese’s penchant of the conflicted and dangerous. His performance is equal parts unnerving and heart-wrenching and its complexity will place it among his best.

Scorsese still hasn’t even slightly waned in his mastery of direction; the thing looks fantastic. Director of Photography Robert Richardson has been responsible for many the indelible image over the years (Platoon’s defining shot) and there is plenty to savour here. Some of the images in Shutter Island are breathtaking, most notably a dream sequence within a burning apartment.

Shutter Island
excels in crafting an air of unease, and escalates the dread through skillful cuts and an ominous and often chilling score. The suspense is palpable, and builds to some nerve-jarring sequences, particularly one scene in which Teddy (DiCaprio) and Chuck (Ruffalo) walk through a ward of the criminally insane, in the dark, as the patients run loose. Thankfully, Scorsese doesn’t opt for cheap scares but uses the situation to further unhinge us.

The ending is satisfying, though wrapped up a little too tightly for my liking. Part of me was hoping it would end a little more ambiguously, which would give the film a longer and more unnerving power. But the real draw of this film is to see one of modern cinema’s preeminent partnerships in action once again, with a further example of why they are the best in their fields.

Shutter Island
Director: Martin Scorsese
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley.


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