Shutter Island

| 16 February , 2010 | Reply

Keeva Stratton from Quip Creative

Directed by: Martin Scorsese

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Ben Kingsley, Mark Ruffalo, Michelle Williams

Shutter Island has all the promise of a classic thriller – a high-calibre director in Martin Scorsese, acting heavyweights Leonardo DiCaprio and Ben Kingsley as protagonist and antagonist, and a rich supporting cast that includes Mark Ruffalo, Max Von Sydow, and Michelle Williams.

Based on the Dennis Lehane novel of the same name (Lehane is also Executive Producer), the quality and craftsmanship of this film, while not surprising, is most welcome.

The plot, set in 1954 postwar America, begins with the mysterious disappearance of a patient at the Ashecliffe Hospital, an island-based psychiatric prison for the criminally insane.

When US Marshall and war veteran, Teddy Daniels (DiCaprio), is sent to investigate the disappearance, the film graduates to a more complex mystery that dapples with history\’s darkest moments: the mass graves of the Holocaust, human experimentation and government conspiracies – creating a mix of horror, fear and suspense that is fed consistently through to its climax.

The unusual refusal of staff at the hospital to participate with the investigation, only serves to heighten the mystery, and we, the audience, are left piecing it together; deciphering the trustworthy characters from the not-so, in a plot that gains momentum and tension with every twist and reveal.

The island feeds an atmosphere of isolation and entrapment; a wild storm ferociously whips the terrain preventing escape; the patients range from the murderous to the maniacal; it\’s a perfect setting to unsettle, and unsettle it does.

But, while it succeeds in building suspense, it is not your typical bump-and-fright thriller. This is a well-made film that can be appreciated for its homage to gothic suspense thrillers of the 1950s and 1960s; there is a touch of Orson Welles about DiCaprio\’s performance, and while their scenes are few, Williams and Von Sydow offer a hair-raising intensity with every line.

Considered a switch in genre for the revered director, Shutter Island carries all the classic markings of a Scorsese film; echoing the suspense-filled brilliance of Cape Fear while developing hard-yet-engaging characters reminiscent of Goodfellas.

As with all suspense thrillers, the question of whether the payoff is worthy of the buildup is always posed, and I have little doubt that this film\’s denouement will be the topic of many a dinner-party discussion in the weeks to come. It\’s powerful.

A welcome respite from the clichéd offerings of recent years, Shutter Island is a complex suspense thriller worth seeing on the big screen.



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Category: Film & TV

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