Classic Review – Shutter Island (2010)

Title – Shutter Island (2010)

Director – Martin Scorsese (Silence)

Cast – Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Sir Ben Kingsley, Max von Sydow, Michelle Williams, Emily Mortimer, Patricia Clarkson, Jackie Earle Haley

Plot – In the early 1950’s, U.S Marshall’s Teddy Daniels (DiCaprio) and Chuck Aule (Ruffalo) are sent to Shutter Island off the coast of Boston to investigate a missing persons case involving a patient of the Ashecliffe Hospital for the criminally insane.

“You know, this place makes me wonder”

Review by Eddie on 14/10/2019

In a career littered with cinematic masterpieces and beloved gems, Shutter Island sometimes appears to be one of the more forgotten about Martin Scorsese films, living in the shadows of granddaddy’s like Goodfellas, Casino and The Departed but there’s no doubt this pulpy, over the top and entirely great thriller is one of the living legends most accessible and enjoyable rides.

Adapted from Dennis Lehane’s book of the same name, Shutter Island is a rained drenched and atmospheric mystery with more intrigue, suspense and twists and turns than you can count, as Scorsese and his favourite leading man Leonardo DiCaprio get caught up in a missing persons case on the haunting lunatic asylum island that houses the Ashecliffe Hospital, run by its potentially devious boss Dr. Crawley, played with gleeful intensity by Sir Ben Kingsley.

Filled with stunning shots by DOP Robert Richardson, a moody and nerve rattling score and fantastic supporting turns from the likes of Mark Ruffalo, Max von Sydow, Michelle Williams, Emily Mortimer, Patricia Clarkson and Jackie Earle Haley, Shutter Island is a complete of a picture as one would expect from a filmmaker of the caliber of Scorsese with the bonus being Shutter Island feels almost like three films in one.

At first a more straight up mystery that morphs slowly into a horror like battle against the mind and potential nefarious forces that then becomes a haunting examination of trauma and grief, Scorsese ensures that Shutter Island is jam-packed with memorable imagery, unexpected detours and contemplative questions too become so much more than the film the synopsis or narrative might at first suggest.

It’s a wild ride and one that the first viewing will take many by complete surprise that’s enhanced by a terrific DiCaprio performance that must surely rank amongst some of the best work the leading man has ever done.

Great in other Scorsese efforts Gangs of New York, The Aviator and The Departed, for my mind DiCaprio’s turn as the traumatized widower and war veteran turned U.S Marshall Teddy Daniels is one of the actors most assured performances.

Tasked with inhabiting a range of different emotions and character traits, DiCaprio’s transformative turn as a man battling his own demons as well as the demons of the island is awards worthy and a main reason why Shutter Island is still so regarded by casual viewers to this day.

A unique film in both a genre sense and in Scorsese’s career sense, Shutter Island may not get the plaudits that its other Scorsese relatives get but there’s no reason to suggest this isn’t as good or even better than many of its other highly regarded bloodline.

Final Say –

A seriously enjoyable and deeply haunting experience, Shutter Island sees Scorsese and DiCaprio on the top of their game, having fun, exploring important themes and making movies like only the best of them can dare dream to do.

5 magic glasses of water out of 5  

5 responses to “Classic Review – Shutter Island (2010)

  1. Great review. I always watch this when it’s on TV late at night. Everything about it drips with sadness. It’s actually even more powerful when you know the ending as it enhances the tragedy of the DiCaprio’s character.

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