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The Sun never shines on Shutter Island...
Shutter Island (DVD)
Member Name: Kat1987
Shutter Island (DVD)
Advantages: Excellent plot, well cast, good exploration of issues.Brilliant.
Disadvantages: The ambiguous ending may annoy some people but I think it makes the film.
Released: 2010, Run-time: 138 minutes, Genre: Drama/Mystery/ Psychological thriller.
Film only review, watched via Netflix.
It's 1954 and emotionally unstable war veteran, U.S Marshall, Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) has been sent to Shutter Island to investigate the escape and subsequent disappearance of inmate and criminally insane murderer Rachel (Emily Mortimer). Shutter Island is a high security institution for the criminally insane and is situated on it's own island. It is on treacherous land, un-reachable unless by boat and is frequently battered by extreme weather. The Island is isolated and the land barren. How is Rachel surviving outside of the compound and if she isn't-where is her body? The disappearance of Rachel is just the tip of the iceberg (pardon the Titanic pun!). All is not what it appears to be on the eerie Shutter Island and as Teddy and his fellow Marshall, Chuck (Mark Ruffalo) delve further into the history and happenings of the place the lines between sanity and insanity become more and more blurred. Where is Rachel? Who or what is the enigmatic number 67 and what really happens inside that overbearing lighthouse?
When they categorized this film as psychological thriller they weren't kidding. This film is taxing, confusing but utterly brilliant. I think this has become one of my all time favourite and most recommended films...and I didn't even want to watch it to start with! If, like me, you have seen the trailers for this film you could be forgiven for thinking that this film was an outright horror movie. I can remember feeling 'freaked out' by the eerie trailers for this and decided there and then that it wasn't for me and it took some persuading to get me to sit down and watch it despite being told how much it suited my tastes. I do not like mindless horror movies but I adore psychological thrillers and I feel that the way in which this film was advertised means that it may have bypassed it's intended audience so if you like a psychological thriller, take my advice and watch this film...now if possible!
The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio (Teddy Daniels) who isn't an actor I would go out of my way to watch however, all that has changed since seeing him in this and Inception. Leo's choice in roles has definitely matured and he was absolutely fantastic in this film. He had me completely absorbed. An outstanding performance and so far away from his Titanic days. However, it isn't just Leo who wowed me in this film, there are an awful lot of stand out performances. Ben Kingsley (Dr. Cawley) plays an excellent role, commanding the authority of a psychiatrist and creating an unnerving, eerie sensation in the audience that can only be associated with someone who has the capability of getting inside your head. Michelle Williams (Dolores) and Emily Mortimer (Rachel) fully embrace their challenging roles, Williams in particular is scarily comfortable in her disturbing role. Mark Ruffalo is also worth a mention, I found his performance rigid and fake to begin with but as the plot unfolded I realised just how well he was playing his character. The acting in this film is of such good calibre that even the 'bit parts' are fantastic. The orderlies and patients do an excellent job of creating a disturbing atmosphere.
As well as big name actors the film also had a big name director, Martin Scorsese. I'm not the sort of person who pays attention to films by any particular director but he did such a fantastic job on this film that I will be more aware of his work in the future. He did an excellent job of exploring the lines between sanity and insanity. The use of shadows and stormy weather to create atmosphere worked well- it appears that the sun never shines on Shutter Island. The grim setting and dramatic soundtrack builds great tension and the concept of not knowing what is real was represented well. The film is visually entertaining and had a fantastic screenplay (Laeta Kalogridis) but the credit goes to author Dennis Lehane for penning such a detailed and intricate storyline. I haven't yet read the book but after this film it has shot to the top of my must read list.
Overall I highly recommend this film. It isn't one to watch when you're tired because you do need to concentrate and even then you may still have many unanswered questions but that is the joy of this film. It explores the ethics of psychology with a gripping and fast paced storyline whilst allowing the audience to remain autonomous and draw their own conclusions. The best psychological thriller...EVER!
Summary: A psychological thriller to top them all.