February 27, 2010

#063: Shutter Island

At some points Shutter Island got pretty crazy, but never too crazy.  Propped up by great acting and cinematography, the sometimes meandering story still works really well.  I give this psychological thriller a solid 7 out of 10.

I was interested enough by Shutter Island to make a trip to the movie theater by myself to check out the new Scorsese flick on its opening weekend.  I went in with an open mind and almost no expectations, and I left satisfied by another solid film from a seasoned director.  However, I don't think everybody will share my sentiments.
Shutter Island

From the beginning I felt almost as if I were watching a very old film.  The film takes place in the 50's, so the setting looks old.  In addition there was styling that made it feel like the film was shot in the 50's.  Seeing the two detectives in their long trench coats on the boat made me feel like I was watching footage from a 40's police drama.  That feeling didn't last the entire film.  I think I settled into the story and stopped noticing the styling as much.  I enjoyed the look of the film. It has a lot of beautiful shots and interesting camera work.

Shutter Island is one of those films that presents you with a mystery and asks you to put the puzzle together.  Your enjoyment of this film will depend on how well you are able to stick with the story without actually figuring everything out.  I cannot speak for everybody, but I think most people will have a similar reaction.  In the middle the film gets very surreal and confusing.  It started to lose me a little bit.  I was ready to put the puzzle back in the box and give up on trying to figure out what was going on.  However, by the end I was completely back in it and interested in what was going on.  I don't mind being completely confused while watching a movie, but others might not appreciate that as much.  I actually think Scorsese could have inserted more of those surreal, dreamlike scenes and it would have been fine with me.

While watching this film I got the feeling I had seen this movie before.  I can't pinpoint one movie that this reminds me of.  There are tons of movies that have used similar plot elements and story arcs.  Shutter Island doesn't present you with some original idea that has never been done before.  However, I feel like Scorsese does this film better than I have ever seen it done before.  The strength of this movie is not the story, or even the ending.  The strength is in the acting, writing, and cinematography.  I really enjoyed watching this film, and am looking forward to my second viewing.
tells the story of US marshal Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio).  He is sent to an island near Boston to investigate the disappearance of a patient from the Aschcliff Hospital for the criminally insane. As the investigation begins he get the feeling that something is amiss.  Things aren't adding up, and he gets the feeling that people aren't telling him everything they know.  He begins to suspect they are putting on a show for him in an attempt to hide their dark secrets.

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