Movie: ‘Shutter Island’
Rating: R for disturbing violent content, language and some nudity.
Director/Producer: Martin Scorsese
In Theaters: Feb. 19, 2010
Runtime: 139 minutes
I kept trying to bribe my teenager to go see ‘Shutter Island’ with me, mainly because the previews made it look pretty scary! But he begged off, so I went by myself, and … it wasn’t all that scary. It’s more of a mind-twister than a psychological thriller, though it definitely falls into that category, too.
I’d been looking forward to it, because it’s hard not to get excited about the pairing of Leonard DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese, the dynamic duo who’ve made scores of films together, including ‘The Departed’ (one of my all-time favorite movies), ‘The Aviator,’ and ‘Gangs of New York.’
Set in 1954, ‘Shutter Island’ – directed and produced by Scorsese – stars DiCaprio as Teddy Daniels, a U.S. marshal investigating the disappearance of a patient from Boston’s Ashecliffe Hospital on Shutter Island, a gloomy place where the worst of the worst mental patients reside.
We learn that Daniels has been pushing for an assignment on the island for personal reasons; there’s a firebrand patient there who set fire to Daniels’ apartment building, killing his wife Dolores (Michelle Williams). But once Daniels and his newbie partner, Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo), take the ferry to the island, they discover some sinister goings-on.
Dr. Cawley (Ben Kingsley) and Dr. Naehring (Max von Sydow) are two of the main doctors, and their treatments range from unethical to illegal to, yes, sinister. Teddy gets nowhere in the investigation, partly because he’s not allowed access to crucial files, but also because his mind starts playing tricks on him. He has massive headaches and starts hallucinating that his dead wife is talking to him, among other things.
Aside from the great leads, everyone in this movie is great casting, including Emily Mortimer and Patricia Clarkson as incarnations of the missing patient, Jackie Earle Haley as another patient, and Ted Levine as a creepy warden.
It’s definitely a bit more commercial than some of Scorsese’s films, but worth a look if you’re a fan of his work, the actors, or psychological thrillers. DiCaprio remains one of the best actors of his generation.
The setting is awesomely creepy (Medfield State Hospital in Medfield, Mass., was among the locations), and not a detail was missed, from the 1950s clothing to the dark soundtrack by Robbie Robertson that plays throughout the film.
If you saw the movie, I would love to get your take on the “big reveal” at the end. I’m still on the fence as to what’s truth and what’s a lie, but I guess I have to resign myself to the fact that it is what it is. That bandage on Teddy Daniels’ head was there for a reason.
Image: Paramount Pictures