Friday, February 19, 2010
Review: Shutter Island
In Marty Scorsese's newest film, Shutter Island, he attempts to pick up where he left off with Cape Fear almost twenty years ago. However, what was marketed as a horror film turns out to be anything but. That however, doesn't mean that it disappoints, it just might disappoint those that expected a bloody horror movie. Instead, in true Scorsese fashion, he created a beautifully shot film that exudes beauty and oozes with eeriness and suspense.
The story is about Teddy (Dicaprio) and Chuck (Ruffalo) who are sent as federal marshals to Shutter Island to investigate the escape of a patient (Emily Mortimer). Headed by psychiatrists (Ben Kingsley and Max Von Sydow) it is an island for the criminally insane. Throughout their investigation, we see Teddy haunted by his own past. Not only was he there at Dachau when US troops marched in, but the memory of his dead wife (Michelle Williams) hangs even more prominently. As Teddy becomes convinced that the US government is conspiring and meets with old acquaintances (Jackie Earl Haley has a particularly creepy role) and new allies (Patricia Clarkson is magnificent in a small, but significant role), to help him solve the mystery of the 67th patient, and the suspicion that all those on the island are hiding more.
The acting is terrific throughout. Kingsley plays the creepy, yet stately doctor with an aura of mystery. Clarkson and Haley (as previously mentioned) were fantastic with little screen time. Ruffalo proves he can actually act. Williams and Mortimer are incredible as always. But the real revelation here is Dicaprio. His frantic and
impeccable performance hopefully will be remembered come Oscar time next year.
Scorsese and Schoonmaker once again make a well directed and edited movie that keeps the suspense and aura lingering over every scene incredibly well. The narrative however is where the normally flawless pair falls flat. There are long scenes of gloom and doom with no real purpose and it is about 30 minutes too long. It stops and goes and makes us wait just a little too long to get to its semi-surprise ending, and there are moments that simply fall flat.
Shutter Island will not go down as one of Scorsese's best, but in February where the shit is usually dumped its nice to see a decent movie with great performances and a storyline that actually makes you think, brighten up the winter.