“Academy Award winning director Martin Scorsese once again teams up with Leonardo DiCaprio in this spine-chilling thriller. When U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels (DiCaprio) arrives at the asylum for the criminally insane on Shutter Island, what starts as a routine investigation quickly takes a sinister turn. As the investigation unfolds and Teddy uncovers more shocking and terrifying truths about the island, he learns there are some places that never let you go.”
“Shutter Island” is rated R for disturbing violent content, language and some nudity.
You may also know from the trailers that Teddy starts having hallucinations. About this time in the film, my wife said, “Oh, I think this is what’s happening.” She then told her theory which I half expected myself. Sure enough, she was right. So the first part of the movie was ruined by the trailer, and the second half was ruined by my wife. So, in short, this movie held no surprises for me which was a big disappointment.
With all that ruined, the only saving grace of the movie is to see how Scorsese executes this plot. It does deliver on that front. The acting is excellent. Leonardo DiCaprio is good as usual as Teddy Daniels. He handles the confusion and frustration of his character well. Teddy is given extra depth since he was a WWII veteran and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. The flashbacks to the concentration camps give you more insight into his mindset. Mark Ruffalo is also good as Chuck Aule. His performance is quite complex and when the final twist is revealed, you’re going to want to go back and watch him even closer. Ben Kingsley is also excellent as Dr. Cawley. I’ve almost forgiven him for his embarrassing role in “The Love Guru,” and this performance goes a long way in restoring his dignity. Throw in good supporting roles by Max von Sydow, Michelle Williams, Emily Mortimer, Patricia Clarkson, Jackie Earle Haley, and Ted Levine and you see that you have a cast that could make even reading the telephone book interesting.
I also thought the production design and costumes were excellent. The sets for the prison were quite impressive. But I have to add that I didn’t care for the soundtrack by Robbie Robertson. It is way over the top, most notably as Teddy and Chuck are driving into the prison for the first time. The music is way too frantic and dramatic for the scene and it didn’t seem to fit. Far be it from me to question Martin Scorsese, but it was an odd choice.
If you like psychological dramas or are a fan of DiCaprio, Scorsese, or author Dennis Lehane, then this is a movie you’ll want to check out. But the less you know going in, the better off you’ll be.
The bonus features are a bit light on this Blu-ray, but they make up for quantity with quality. “Behind the Shutters” is a ‘making of’ featurette discussing the novel, the characters, the shooting of the film, the clues about the ending hidden in the film, and the actors. “Into the Lighthouse” discusses the psychological disorders presented in the film and the real world history of treatment for these disorders. They discuss lobotomies, shock therapy, and other fun stuff. Both are actually interesting to check out.