Skip to main content

Review: Shutter Island

It has been almost twenty years since Martin Scorsese has last took on a genre film like Cape Fear but with his latest effort Scorsese has returned to the horror landscape once again.

Let me clarify that Shutter Island is not a horror film like The Wolfman where the "scares" are primarily from a loud musical score at a select moment and at least thirteen gallons of blood. This is real horror; the things that keep you up at night long after watching them like The Shining, or Jacob's Ladder.

Marshall Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his new partner Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo)is on investigation to find out how patient Rachel Solando disappeared from the Ashecliffe Institute on Shutter Island. The only ferry that comes to the island is under control of the institute and the island is more than ten miles away from the Boston shore. Dr. Cawley (Ben Kingsley) is concerned with the safety of people on the island after the escape of Solando, but he is keeping something from Teddy and Chuck. As more and more is unwrapped about Ashecliffe Teddy's motives become clear Shutter Island is capable of more than it is letting on and someone needs to blow this out of the water.

DiCaprio at this stage of his career reminds me more and more of Martin Sheen during his peak runs in Badlands and Apocalypse Now. The struggle of his characters are internalized such a degree that he doesn't even know who he is anymore. The Departed was the greatest example of this, but with Shutter Island DiCaprio might have given his best performance yet. With this film and Inception out in July DiCaprio will definitely be nominated for Best Actor this year.

Robert Richardson, who previously shot Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds this past year turns in a solid effort in nailing the atmosphere of the film. A constant threat of being found out lurks around the Ashecliffe Institute and that fear is evoked in the audience thanks to Richardson's deft touch of shadowing and light.

Steven Spielberg has made several World War II films during his career, but his counterpart Scorsese has not. But in a roundabout way Shutter Island is his WWII piece. Men committ sometimes terrible atrocities during war and when they come back life isn't always the same. Not everyone comes home like Private Ryan did.

Shutter Island is masterfully crafted by Martin Scorsese. There are references to Hitchcock, Kubrick and old classic horror auteurs (even one of Scorsese's favs The Red Shoes). Never once does the film resort to loud scares just a slowly mounting tension that never lets you out of your chair. The cinematography, score and performances all round out the best film of the year so far.


Popular posts from this blog

Herman Melville and Office Space

Just from gleaning the surface of Office Space one would assume that there isn't anything simmering below the surface except for a raunchy work-comedy, but they would be wrong. After the harsh critical reception of his greatest work Moby Dick Melville wrote a collection of short stories called Bartleby and Benito Cereno perhaps the greatest slam at the time against industrial America. Bartleby is the story of a Wall Street copyist who has his three employees proof-read and copy law forms. Shortly into the story Bartleby starts responding to work commands with, "I would prefer not to." Frustrated by his employee's subordination the Narrator tries to have him fired but Bartleby refuses to leave the office. The Narrator comes back the following morning to find Bartleby living inside his office. Bartleby becomes increasingly less apt to perform basic functions as eating after he is jailed for trespassing and dies in a jail cell. What at once starts out as a comedy

Paprika vs. Inception

Months before Inception hit the theaters forums were alive with rumors that Christopher Nolan either accidentally or intentionally stole some details from another film, the Japanese anime Paprika. The biggest point of comparison for some bloggers and forum runners was the fact that both of the films featured a device that allowed a person, or people, to travel into another’s dreams and delve into their subconscious. Minor points of comparison include scenes in Paprika where the character Paprika breaks through a mirrored wall by holding her hand to it, as well as a scene where a police detective falls his way down a hallway. Claims have been made that Inception abounds with imagery similar to or exactly like the anime movie, but with the recent release of the film on DVD and Blu-Ray, and with Paprika available for several years now, an examination of the two plots can be made more fully. Let us begin with the primary claim— Inception stole the idea of a dream

Solo: A Star Wars Story

Viewer: Han, bubbe, you don't have to explain every small detail of your backstory that was mentioned in the original trilogy. Han: I was named Solo by an Imperial recruiter. V: Wait, didn't you detail your father's entire career building Millenium Falcons? How do you not know your last name? H: ... V: ... H: There's a prequel cameo in the third act. V: Yeah, I'm just going to go ahead and leave, alright? H: I have a good feeling about this.