Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


SHUTTER ISLAND (2010). Director: Martin Scorsese.

Widower Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his associate Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo) travel to an island near Boston which has become an institution for the mentally disturbed. One of the inmates has disappeared, but before long Daniels -- who is there with Aule to find her -- is convinced that either a massive cover-up is in place, or the missing woman never even existed. Is the island the site of sinister experimentation, and is everyone who knows of it being eliminated? DiCaprio isn't bad, but Ben Kinsgley and Max von Sydow certainly add stature with their portrayals of two of the island's doctors. Pictorially striking and well-directed -- one of Scorsese's best in fact -- Shutter Island has many memorable moments, such as a cliff-side scene involving hundreds of rats, and a flashback in which Daniels learns that his young children are dead [DiCaprio nails this scene beautifully]. The film has a kind of open-ended quality, but this doesn't detract from the entertainment value of the picture; viewers can decide for themselves the "true" story behind Shutter Island. John Carroll Lynch, Ted Levine, Michelle Williams, and Jackie Earle Haley, among others in a large cast, have highly effective supporting roles. I have never cared all that much for Scorsese's thrillers/macabre films, but Shutter Island is a pleasant surprise. I liked this much, much better than The Departed and also think it's a much better film. Of course people who like gangster/cop films better than psychological suspense-dramas might tend to disagree.

Verdict: Scorsese knocks one out of the ball park. ***1/2.

No comments: