Digital Spy

Search Digital Spy
11

Movies Review

Shutter Island

By
Shutter Island
Released on Friday, Mar 12 2010

The fourth collaboration between legendary director Martin Scorsese and superstar Leonardo DiCaprio (following Gangs Of New York, The Aviator and The Departed), Shutter Island sees the pair wrestling with psychological trauma on an island housing an institution for the criminally insane. It may not be quite as punchy or immediate as their 2006 Oscar-winning cop drama, but it's a strong and at times gripping offering from Hollywood's cosiest A-list filmmaker/star pairing.

Something of a departure for Scorsese, Shutter Island is his tilt into Alfred Hitchcock territory - it's a deftly plotted genre mash-up with shades of Vertigo, classic noir Laura and Sam Fuller's Shock Corridor (as Scorsese himself admits). The story brings US Federal Marshall Teddy Daniels (DiCaprio) and his partner Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo) to the titular island to investigate the disappearance of hospital inmate Rachel Solando (Emily Mortimer). Faced with resistance from doctors John Cawley (a calm yet sinister Ben Kingsley) and Jeremiah Naehring (Max von Sydow), Daniels and Aule start to uncover the island's secrets.

Daniels's dogged determination is undermined by his health, as sea-sickness, migraines and nightmares start to get the better of him. His wife Dolores, played with a detached coolness by Michelle Williams, died in a tragic fire years ago and Teddy experiences painful visions of her, along with flashbacks to the brutality he inflicted on others as a US soldier in World War II - Scorsese revisiting the theme of violence. When Daniels admits to his partner that he has an ulterior motive for being on the island (arsonist Andrew Laeddis, who lit the match that killed his wife, is a resident at the hospital), the story begins to reveal itself in a way that lends every exchange extra meaning.

Clues to Shutter's plot revelations are scattered throughout from an early stage, and in truth its closing five minutes leaves what precedes it looking a tad preposterous and pointless. However, it's to Scorsese's credit that he keeps up the intrigue with a succession of masterfully constructed set pieces. As Daniels stalks through the dimly lit rooms of the island's high-security compound, lighting matches to illuminate the darkness, the tension is ratcheted up. Scorsese clearly relishes zipping his camera around the tight, claustrophobic interiors of the Ashcliffe hospital. It's when the story moves away from the island by flashing back in time that the pace relents and loses some of its suspense, spooky mood and atmosphere.

DiCaprio gives a resilient performance, delving into the physical and psychological depths that he has hit with almost every role of late. His sombreness fits the tone of the film well, but as an actor he's beginning to feel like he's recycling past roles. There's not that much discernable difference between his character here and those he played in any of his films stretching back to The Aviator. The exuberance and joy he expressed in Titanic and Catch Me If You Can seem like a world away. As enjoyable as Shutter Island is, it further underlines that DiCaprio needs to find a lighter mood before he falls any deeper into Christian Bale-style po-faced seriousness.


> What do you think of the movie? Share your views

You May Like

Comments

Loading...