Day 31: Shutter Island (2010)

Warning: This review contains spoilers. Although, I will clarify that these are “mild” spoilers because most of the potential “spoiled” part of the film I could see coming….from way, way, way far away (or, in Lucas-speak—“a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away” is how far I could be and still guess what this film had in store for me).


In Shutter Island, federal marshal Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) investigates the disappearance of a patient at a maximum security mental asylum in the 1950s. He takes his new partner, Chuck (Mark Ruffalo), on the case and they attempt to sort through the layers of lies, truth, and crazy ramblings in an effort to discover what happened to the missing patient. The island is totally remote and inaccessible except by a special ferry that is suspiciously hampered by a storm…. Hey, wait! Doesn’t this sound eerily similar to Jurassic Park? (And I thought the patient rambling about dinosaurs was just insane… he may have actually been onto something.) Anyway, while on this totally remote island, Teddy starts having hallucinations. Is there something wrong with his brain? Do the doctors on this island experiment on humans and plan to use Teddy as the next case? Should you run when you see a T-Rex or stay really still? It’s obvious Teddy has issues to deal with on Shutter Island.


Shutter Island is another one of the books I read before I saw the movie. The book was “meh” on story, but pretty cool in setting tone and establishing place. In this respect, the film did the book justice. I thought the look of the film was remarkable. The colors were very rich and the way it was shot allowed the sense of place to be well-established. In some cases, I am sure the idea of place can be overlooked in a film; however, in Shutter Island, place is almost a character in and of itself, and I thought this was remarkably conveyed on to the screen.


I wasn’t a huge fan of the story. There are certain traps that almost certainly befall specific genres of movies. If I see a movie about con artists, it is almost inevitable that the film ends in a giant con– one the audience “didn’t see coming” (yes, I am talking to you, Matchstick Men). In a similar way, movies that deal with the issue of insanity want to have a plot twist of their own that they believe “you won’t see coming” (What? You mean HE was the crazy one all along? Bull! 😉 ). You see what I’m saying?


The acting in the film was well done. I bought each character without hesitation, and it seemed very “realistic” (within the confines of the story). With another cast and director, this film could have really been virtually unrecognizable from the book. Imagine Paul Walker in Leo’s role, Megan Fox in the part given to Michelle Williams, Mark Ruffalo as Mark Ruffalo, or a digitally reconstructed Bella Lugosi as the head psychologist brought to life by Ben Kingsley.


Aside from the markedly absent dinosaurs, this film was surprisingly good. Not brilliant– a velociraptor fighting a triceratops wielding a sword, now that would be brilliant. As I said, not brilliant, but good.


Score: B

Netflix Queue: 474

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