Shutter Island Review
Written by: alex1176
Martin Scorcese's "Shutter Island" is a visual tour de force. I watched it a week after it's U.S. release, so obviously this review is belated (May 1st, 2010). The movie is his return to the horror genre; in 1991 the director's savage remake of "Cape Fear" was released. Like that film, "Shutter Island" is an homage to the great suspense director Alfred Hitchcock. It also features an ominous, foreboding soundtrack that is a tribute to Bernard Herrmann, the man who scored several Hitchcock movies including "Psycho". The movie relies heavily on horror atmosphere and it's visuals are one of the strongest components. In fact, I was partially reminded of the atmospheric video game "Bioshock" as I watched it.
In the movie, Leonardo DiCaprio plays a U.S. Marshal (named Teddy Daniels) sent to a criminal asylum to investigate the mysterious disappearnce of a female patient. The year is 1954 and it's set in an island off the coast of Boston. The weakest apsect of "Shutter Island" is the backstory, there's simply too much of it. Like "The Usual Suspects", it plays with all sorts of twists only to conclude with a very simple explanation. It this way, it is a disappointment. In fact, it's probably best to mention that the movie isn't great Martin Scorcese. It's good, though. Very good. The problem isn't the directing so much as the convoluted script. You won't get much of an emotional rush given that the movie is more mystery than it is drama.
It's interesting to note that the film is based on a Dennis Lehane novel, that great Boston-based author. I didn't read the book, but Marty's adapation is certainly horror based. If Clint Eastwood adapated it, it probably would've been a bit more like "Changeling", his Angelina Jolie movie. So I find it interesting that Martin brought horror tendancies into the film. The cast is first rate with Ben Kingsley and Max Von Sydow as possible Nazis symphatizers. Mark Ruffalo is also good as Teddy's new partner, Ted Levine (Silence of the Lambs) does good as the head of security and even Freddy himself, Jackie Earle Haley makes a impressive cameo as a wrongly imprisoned man. Blink and you'll miss veteran actor Elias Koteas (Zodiac) as an arsonist that looks alot like DeNiro in "Mary Shelley's Frankenstein".
"Shutter Island" is a very good movie. It's right up there with M. Night Shyamalan's "The Sixth Sense" when it comes to delivering the spooky goods. It may not be great, but horror fans will probably get quite a jolt out of it.